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Article posted on November 25, 2015

Partner Profile: First-of-its-kind Cause-Based Partnership Unites Calgary’s Business Leadership Orgs

By bringing together Calgary’s two prominent business leadership organizations, an innovative campaign in the city has forged the first cause-based partnership between the Calgary Chamber and Calgary Economic Development. The cause? Supporting the development of a well-educated, literate workforce to grow the economy of the future, starting during a child’s earliest years.

The GiveToGrow campaign has a simple mandate: raise funds and awareness to improve literacy rates among Calgarian children aged 0 to 4, many of whom read at levels below the Canadian national average. As noted by Brent Buechler, one of the originators of the campaign, “GiveToGrow nurtures the human potential that lives within our citizens. By providing support for children aged 0 to 4 through early childhood literacy, we can enrich their lives and define our collective success.”

The campaign and the four-member partnership was first imagined by Buechler, Vice President of the Calgary Public Library Foundation (a proud partner of Alberta’s Promise), and Gena Rotstein, Founder and CEO of Place2Give Foundation, a donor-centred charity search engine. Together, they identified the important role small businesses could play in building a better educated workforce tomorrow by investing in early childhood literacy today.

With a clear vision and literacy statistics in tow, Brent and Gena approached the Calgary Chamber and Calgary Economic Development to forge a first-of-its-kind partnership between the business leadership organizations focused on nurturing the potential within all children through literacy.

The GiveToGrow campaign launched during the Calgary Chamber’s Small Business Week on October 19 to raise awareness and financial support for four agency partners that play a vital role to literacy promotion among young children in Calgary: the Calgary Public Library, Calgary Reads, Can Learn Society, and Further Education Society of Alberta.

By aligning community and business interests behind workforce development, GiveToGrow is focused on giving small businesses opportunities to get involved and assure their own sustainability. The campaign website equips small businesses with tools and resources to join the movement and start their own corporate citizen program and solicit donations for the campaign. Using The Small Business Toolkit, organizations can also reach out to their employees and clients to raise funds and support a great cause.

The campaign is proving to be a successful model to support the shared literacy imperative among business leadership organizations and community-based agencies. The collaborative fundraising partnership raises awareness of early childhood literacy and its importance for the economic prosperity of Alberta, profiles key community agencies that support children’s literacy, and gives small businesses the tools to contribute to the sustainability of an educated, literate workforce for decades to come. The hope of the campaign organizers is to replicate the model in other cities and have the GiveToGrow campaign become an annual collaborative venture.

For more information on the GiveToGrow campaign, please visit

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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