Episode 6: No Battle of Alberta when it comes to Poverty Reduction

8 December 2021

In this episode, Jaclyn Silbernagel sits down with Vibrant Communities Calgary and EndPovertyEdmonton’s Executive Directors to get their perspectives on poverty reduction and the future of Alberta.

Published 8 December 2021

Updated 12 December 2023

This episode of Let's Talk Poverty discusses innovation and public will, the concept of servicing poverty, and the role of policy in poverty reduction. Meaghon Reid and Erick Ambtman talk about how municipalities are leading the way and opportunities that come from working closely together to leverage ideas and strengths. They also invite individuals and organizations to reach out to VCC and EPE to talk about what they can do in their spheres of influence to do something meaningful about poverty.

In this episode

  • Discussion on innovation and public will directed at ending poverty.
  • Are we asking the right questions? Understanding that many of the levers that affect people in poverty are provincial policy levers and insights on what we’re actually trying to accomplish with policies.  
  • Why the concept of servicing poverty is important as we think about the best approaches to poverty reduction. Are we trying to find solutions to poverty and address root causes, or have we just become good at managing poverty?

Three key takeaways

  • How combining the strengths of Alberta’s two largest cities creates opportunities to leverage ideas – cultivating an environment where the best of two organizations can emerge, where greater change is possible.
  • Understanding that policy innovations, like social procurement policies, are going to be a big part of great and inclusive cities. Municipalities are leading the way.
  • Why EndPovertyEdmonton and Vibrant Communities Calgary hold a unique space – an open invitation to reach out to both organizations, regardless of your line of work, to talk about what you can do in your world or your life to do something meaningful about poverty. 

Additional Resources

About Erick Ambtman

Erick Ambtman is a long-time Edmontonian firm in the belief that as a community we have what it takes to end poverty in a generation and is the Executive Director of EndPovertyEdmonton. He is also a member of the Edmonton Police Commission, past Executive Director for the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, former Executive Director of Aboriginal Friendship Centres in Calgary, Rocky Mountain House, Red Deer and Fort McMurray and alumnus of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40. Erick currently serves as chair of the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies, vice-chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, and is a board member of Edmonton’s Vital Signs Committee. He holds degrees in Economics from the University of Manitoba and the London School of Economics.

About EndPovertyEdmonton

EndPovertyEdmonton is a community initiative working towards prosperity for all through advancing reconciliation, the elimination of racism, liveable incomes, affordable housing, accessible and affordable transit, affordable and quality child care, and access to mental health services and addiction supports.

About Meaghon Reid

Meaghon Reid started as the Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary in September of 2019, bringing a diverse range of experience in organizational leadership, advocacy, collective impact initiatives and policy change. Prior to working at VCC, Meaghon was the Executive Director of the Brenda Strafford Centre, where she experienced first-hand how the critical work being undertaken under the Enough for All Strategy has positively impacted the lives of people experiencing poverty. Before moving to Calgary, Meaghon was the Associate Vice President at the National Council for Behavioral Health in Washington, DC. Meaghon also worked as the Director of the Mental Health First Aid program at the Mental Health Commission in Ottawa, Ontario where she went after several years of working in international development at VSO International. Meaghon is a proud graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland where she studied economics and political science.

About Vibrant Communities Calgary

Vibrant Communities Calgary (VCC) advocates for long-term strategies that address the root causes of poverty in Calgary. VCC engages the community using a collective impact approach to poverty reduction and is the steward of Calgary's community-owned poverty reduction strategy, Enough for All. VCC actively guides the implementation of the strategy through advocacy and policy, and by working with community members, organizations and Enough for All Champions.

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