Newly-formed foundation funds at-risk youth programs for a safer Calgary
Politicians, city officials and business leaders gathered at the McDougall Centre Oct. 11 for the official launch of the Calgary Police Foundation.
The Calgary Police Foundation (CPF), in partnership with the Calgary Police Service, will fund community-based education, prevention and early intervention programs targeted at at-risk children and youth in an effort to reduce crime in Calgary.
Programs funded by the foundation will not only address youth crime, but also child abuse, drug and alcohol addictions, gang life and bullying.
“Early intervention and education is the key to directing these young people towards more safe and productive lifestyles,” said Police Chief Rick Hanson. “We know the outcomes of these factors are predictable and if they’re predictable, they’re preventable.”
The CPF currently funds six initial marquee programs:
• Child Advocacy Centre
• YouthLink Calgary
• Multi-Agency School Support Teams (MASST)
• Calgary Police Cadets Corps
• Get-a-Life Program
• Don’t be that Guy
The foundation will also support additional programs based on new, “unfunded” ideas to help “steer kids in the right direction,” Hanson said.
“It’s funding programs that do not exist and that now will exist because of
Photo by Pamela Di Pinto the support from the foundation.”
Hanson pointed to the success of organizations already in place, like the Child Advocacy Centre and YouthLink Calgary, as a sign the new programs will also be effective.
“We know we’re going to show results. We already are showing some results,” he said.
An Edmonton Police Foundation was established 12 years ago.
Calgary has been involved in funding initiatives similar to the Edmonton foundation – it’s just been a “little less structured and formal,” said Premier Alison Redford.
The newly formed CPF was the next step.
“I think it’s a natural evolution of what we’ve been able to accomplish in Calgary,” said Redford, who supported a number of Safe Communities initiatives as the former justice minister.
“Our community only succeeds when everyone in our community has an opportunity.”
The CPF is planning to raise an estimated $10-million over a five year period.
The CPF has already received a donation of $1 million from big-name oil and gas companies, such as:
• Canadian Natural Resources Limited
• Cenovus Energy
• Enbridge Inc.
• Encana Corporation
• MEG Energy
• Talisman Energy Inc.
The foundation has also received a $100,000 donation from CIBC and a number of $25,000 donations from prominent Calgarian families and individuals.
“It’s about not just corporations, but the average citizen here in Calgary having the opportunity to become a member of the foundation and to really say, ‘I want this community to be a safer place,’” said Brian Ferguson, CPF board chair and president and CEO of Cenovus Energy.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi also stressed the importance of involving citizens in making Calgary a safer, stronger community where people – young and old – can thrive.
“Working together, we will ensure that children in this city will grow up in an even safer environment, an environment where every single one of us…will have the opportunity to live an amazing life.”