ccc team at various charity-related events

Doing Good Together

What started as a way for us to learn more about our Charity Partners quickly became the foundation of the connections and the culture of giving we were building in the office.

Jacquie Li

BUILDING CULTURE & COMMUNITY WITH THE CHARITY CHALLENGE

Taylor and I recently celebrated our four year CCC work-iversary and, as a generally nostalgic person (I may or may not spend hours scrolling through my own Instagram account where I posted every day for 10 years), it was fun to look back and see how much has changed since we started in February of 2019.

Dave, our Executive Director and full time emcee, had the monumental task of onboarding two new employees mere days before Human Bonspiel and, as if that weren’t enough, venues for September needed to be finalized and the Charity Challenge was due to launch in a few weeks. Taylor, with her trusty notebook and a stack of comprehensive notes from CCC alum Robyn “Witch & Pants” Malcolm (she’ll hate this shoutout), dove into September preparations while I reached out to our Charity Partners to introduce myself.

Human Bonspiel went off without a hitch (unless you consider having to heat the tent lock with a BBQ lighter to thaw it every morning a “hitch”), Taylor continued to do what Taylor does (plan 22 events like it’s no big deal), and I started learning about our ten charity partners and the Charity Challenge Giving Opportunities. There seemed to be very little time for anything else, and the first couple weeks flew by with Dave, Taylor and I sitting side-by-side-by-side in relative quiet. 

One day, we received an email from the Calgary Food Bank about volunteering and, seeing it as the perfect opportunity to see the Charity Challenge in action, we signed up and unwittingly kickstarted a flurry of charity partner visits, volunteering, and events.

Within the first few months of working together our team had:

  • Volunteered at the Calgary Food Bank
  • Donated at Canadian Blood Services
  • Hosted Human Bonspiel in support of KidSport
  • Sat in a courtroom with HomeFront and,
  • Cried in the Magic Room during a House tour with RMHC Alberta.

By the end of our first year we had:

  • Attended the BIG Brunch with Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Presented Tree-via Hugger Night with Green Calgary
  • Participated in a Branch Out Brain Buster
  • Hosted a Slo-Pitch tournament in support of AARCS, and
  • Run a successful 2019 September Games & Charity Challenge.
I was so busy being in awe of the work our Charity Partners were doing, and the magnitude of the September Games, that I’ve only just now realized how formative those experiences were for our team. 

They gave us the chance to bond outside of the office while seeing the impact of the Charity Challenge in the community first hand (watching Taylor take 15 minutes to donate blood because she drank only coffee that morning or the first of many visits to Village Ice Cream after packing up the equipment for the Slo-Pitch tournament). What started as a way for us to learn more about our Charity Partners quickly became the foundation of the connections and the culture we were building in the office, and we’ve seen those connections grow in our member companies, too.

In 2022, we shifted the annual Giving Opportunities to put more of an emphasis on awareness campaigns and team building - through volunteering, hosting fundraisers and bottle drives, or stacking pairs of underwear sky high - and we were elated to see the response. Monetary donations continue to be important, especially given the past few years, but the value of meaningful engagement can’t be underestimated. 

According to Benevity data, “companies who engage their people in doing good see an average of 57% lower turnover…a huge deal when studies show that turnover costs companies hundreds of billions of dollars each year”.

Companies that participate in the Charity Challenge (a free and optional component of the September Games), can benefit from corporate giving and community investment by signing up for opportunities created just for our audience, and our charities benefit from being connected directly with people who want to help.

Employees are increasingly interested in feeling like a part of something bigger than themselves and creating a culture of giving contributes to the betterment of society. An added bonus? A few extra points in the September Games. Do good and be good (in the Standings)!

In a time when we’re all trying to find our place in this “new normal” (I know, sorry), doing small acts of kindness together will only make our community stronger.

And what is Calgary Corporate Challenge for, if not to build community?

The past few years, despite their challenges, have given our team a renewed understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish. Our vision of unifying Calgary’s business community motivates everything we do, every event or challenge that we host, because an increase in corporate pride and a sense of connection in the business network won’t just happen on its own. The companies who join us for the September Games are showcasing their commitment to being part of a community of builders focused on increasing employee engagement and wellness and, yeah, they also get the chance to pull a truck, toss a few horseshoes, drink a few beers, and have a real and tangible impact in the city through our Charity Partners. 

Since 2006, the members of CCC have raised over $8.3 million, volunteered thousands of hours, donated nearly 10,000 units of blood and 130,000 pounds of food. The results are staggering enough to melt my cold, dead heart (a joke I constantly make about the Charity Challenge to avoid crying in public). We’ve amplified the message for numerous charities since our inception, and we’re excited to give even more local charities the opportunity to connect with our members in the years to come. We’ve been grateful to have built such strong relationships with so many local charities over the years, and we will continue to champion all Charity Partners, past and present.

We’re so proud and humbled to know that we play a part in building up our community and will continue to do what we can to give our companies the same opportunity.

5 volunteers hosting a bbq at Between Friends' Camp Bonaventure
May 2024

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2023 Charity Challenge - Learn More