March 24, 2021

United Way celebrates Cindy Graham for her work on UCalgary’s 2020 campaign

UCalgary takes home two Community Impact Awards, which celebrate organizations that demonstrate what it means to be an outstanding corporate citizen
Dr. Cindy Graham

This year’s United Way campaign at the University of Calgary may have looked different, but despite the challenges of 2020, UCalgary exceeded its fundraising goal and raised $780,511 for United Way. In recognition of the campaign, the United Way is honouring UCalgary and Dr. Cindy Graham, 2020 Campaign co-chair and vice-dean of the Faculty of Science, with Community Impact awards.

Cindy Graham demonstrates the power of one

Graham is receiving the Power of One award from United Way, which recognizes volunteers who exceed expectations in creating greater awareness through their personal involvement and initiatives in their workplace. Along with Graham’s collaborative work to bring together the cross-campus campaign, she also used her personal Twitter account to raise awareness about the crucial work the United Way does.

“Having the ability to share good stories on Twitter helps build support,” says Graham. “It helps people see the tremendous local impact the United Way has on the community.”

Graham has been involved with the United Way as a core donor, leader, cabinet member, leadership giving co-chair and campaign co-chair. Dr. Ed McCauley, UCalgary president, says Graham’s work has helped United Way make a significant impact on the greater Calgary community.

“Dr. Graham embodies the values of a true champion of the United Way by generously devoting her time and talents to engage the University of Calgary campus about the importance of giving back,” says McCauley. “By combining the compelling message of the United Way with the community of caring on campus, Dr. Graham has really ignited our shared goal to improve the quality of life in our city.”

Celebrating UCalgary’s community spirit

UCalgary is also being honoured with the Spirit of Volunteerism, Education, and Engagement award, which recognizes organizations that have demonstrated remarkable creativity and passion in engaging employees during United Way campaigns. In response to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, UCalgary re-imagined fundraising events to help the community engage with the campaign virtually.

“2020 was a challenging year, but the University of Calgary was able to pivot and move its United Way campaign online without sacrificing the incredible community spirit that we are used to seeing during the campaign,” says McCauley.

Faculty and staff got engaged with this year’s record-breaking United Way campaign and showed, once again, that UCalgary is compassionate and committed to making a positive difference in the lives of our neighbours.

The Spirit of Volunteerism, Education, and Engagement Award recognizes efforts by the entire UCalgary community — from the support, creativity and hard work put forward by members of UCalgary’s United Way Cabinet and Leadership Giving committee, to the 821 faculty and staff members who participated in the many fundraising initiatives throughout the campaign.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on everyone, and UCalgary understands the importance of supporting those in need in our community.

“Social agencies supported by the United Way are even more important today than they have been in the past,” says Graham. Although Graham is stepping down as campaign co-chair for 2021, she believes that the next campaign will be bigger and better.

“Our next big opportunity is to engage our students around the United Way and really start thinking about giving —not just giving money, but giving back to the community,” she says. “Connecting with community is about connecting with people, and we can do that in lots of different ways.”