AARCS Receives $10,000 Dollar Donation!

The Calgary Real Estate Board’s Charitable Foundation kicked off the holiday season in grand giving style at its holiday luncheon.

As part of the festivities at the Vegas-themed celebration on Dec. 11 at BMO Centre, $150,000 was gifted to 15 local charities as part of its annual Investing in Hope initiative, one of two major gift-granting programs spearheaded by the organization.

The Investing in Hope initiative is a member-driven, hands-on, interactive program with an online platform. It actively engages the more than 5,600 Calgary and area realtors to nominate their favourite charities and then vote to determine the recipients who will receive funding from the Charitable Foundation. The nominating and voting process ran for six weeks over the course of October and early November.

“Our goal is to help make Calgary and the people we support better by helping to build self-sustainable communities and by empowering realtors to be able to give back,” says Joanna Barstad,  president of CREB’s Charitable Foundation.

The Investing in Hope Awards target charities in three specific areas — community enhancement, vulnerable populations, and housing and shelter-related initiatives in both Calgary and its surrounding areas.

This year’s award recipients included Cornerstone Youth Centre, North Rocky View Community Links Society, Olds and District Hospice Society, Special Olympics Calgary Wellspring Calgary, Accessible Housing, Elizabeth House, Inn from the Cold, Victory Foundation, YWCA of Calgary, Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, Calgary Poppy Fund, Calgary Reads and Father Lacombe Care Centre Foundation.

Each charity was awarded $10,000.

“It was an aha moment with these nominated charities — some we had never heard of — they are just small and don’t get a lot of press, but our members are passionate about what they are accomplishing,” says Barstad, noting that the beauty of this giving initiative is that it sparks member engagement.

And those grants will go a long way towards assisting these charities with their giving-back mandates. At Brown Bagging It for Calgary’s Kids, the $10,000 grant will go to help fund its Downtown Kitchen program, which provides nutritious lunches on a daily basis to 40 of the 138 schools that it services.

The organization provides no-cost lunches to more than 2,000 Calgary school kids, ranging from kindergarten to Grade 12.

“These are kids that would otherwise go without, whether due to poverty or family illness or crisis. This money will definitely make a huge dent in serving up some healthy lunches for Calgary kids,” says Melissa Cooney-Burk, executive director at BB4CK, adding that the organization is entirely funded by private donations and by the volunteer efforts of corporate Calgary.

At Accessible Housing, executive director Jeff Dyer calls the grant “a shot in the arm.”

This is the second year the charity has been awarded the grant. Last year the monies were used to rebuild and craft a new website.

“This year we are investing it in a program that we are launching called Hearts and Hammers, a community partnership where we help to modify homes extreme makeover style, so that people can maintain their independent living,” says Dyer, noting that the need for this kind of renovation is huge in Calgary.

The goal is to accomplish 22 renovations in 2015.

“The CREB grant will really help us launch this and being part of the awards really raises awareness of what we do, which is awesome,” he says.

The Investing in Hope grants are part of two-fold giving process that this year will distribute $250,000. The second program, The Governors’ Grants gifted $100,000 to five local charities earlier this fall.

But CREB’s Charitable Foundation does so much more than these two giving drives, especially at a hands-on level.

“When the need arises we are also here for crisis funding — for example during the floods, or if someone is in absolute need and falls through the cracks — like damage deposits for the working poor,” says Barstad.

The CREB Charitable Foundation came to life in 1987 and since then has gifted more than $5 million to a variety of Calgary and area charities.

Featured Volunteer: Pat Richardson

How can I become a volunteer? | See more volunteers

AARCS introduces Pat Richardson

What AARCS Has To Say

We are so pleased to announce the lovely Pat as our Volunteer of the Month for January.
Pat started with us a couple years ago doing the external adoption sites that we add our animals too.  She did a fantastic job and when we needed help with our own website, she was the first person we thought of.  Pat is such a great volunteer, the kind every organization needs.  She is loyal and thorough and really takes her volunteer role very seriously.  We can always rely on Pat and know that anything sent her way is being looked after to the best of her ability.
We are so happy to have Pat as part of our AARCS family and hope we do for many more years to come.
Thank you Pat for your dedication and hard work.

A few words from Pat:

When we adopted our first AARCS dog, Willow (formerly Twiggy) in the summer of 2012, I knew right away that AARCS was an organization that I could wholeheartedly support, and I wanted to find a way to get involved in the fantastic rescue work that they do.  I started out by volunteering at some adoption events and at the shelter, and then the perfect opportunity came along to help with the website.  I absolutely love receiving the photos and information for the dogs as they come into AARCS care, posting their profiles, and then rejoicing as they move from the available page to the adopted page!  We adopted our second AARCS dog last spring, making us a family of four dogs who keep us young and active.

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