Enough for All Changemakers constantly ask ‘what’s possible?’

Collective impact and collaboration at the centre of reducing poverty in Calgary

3 August 2021

Enough for All – the work

The work of the Enough for All (E4A) strategy may look complex and sometimes it is, but as Vibrant Communities Calgary stewards the strategy, it’s our job to help untangle the complexity and work with others toward clarity, finding ways to shape how we all work together to end poverty in our city.

The ultimate vision of the strategy is that ‘we live in a community where there is enough for all.’ As the stewards, we connect organizations and individuals throughout the E4A strategy, across the principles and 10 levers of change (specific areas of focus that must be addressed in order to reduce poverty). Everyone engaged in the strategy must consider how these levers of change present uniquely for Indigenous people, women, youth, seniors, newcomers and refugees, and LGBTQ2S+ people in our community.

Poverty is the condition in which people are without the supports, means and choices needed to attain and maintain a basic standard of living. We know that 189,000 Calgarians live in income poverty (MBM, Canadian Income Survey 2018). It’s also clear that poverty impacts women and racialized individuals disproportionately in our city.

Poverty and low-income are not the same by definition. However, lack of income is the greatest determinant of poverty. By poverty we mean a number of issues or ‘levers’ such as poor access to healthcare, transportation or housing, lack of opportunity for education and literacy, poor early childhood outcomes, or inadequate income from employment or income supports. Poverty includes many dimensions.

E4A Champions take action

Enough for All Champions are organizations that are working to reduce poverty in our city. Every organization in Calgary has the potential to link to the poverty reduction strategy in some way, whether through clear alignments in organizational mandates, an organization that actively pays employees a living wage or an organization that is community-minded and is working to contribute and act as an agent of change.

Contributions from Enough for All Champions align with the principles of the strategy, and provide expertise, leadership and dedicated resources to support progress within the levers of change; understanding the necessary commitments to the voices of lived experience and the Indigenous community.

Champions' work relates directly to a lever of change or they act as a critical lens across all levers of change. A Champion is a part of a network that works to spotlight initiatives and advance policy changes to address the roots causes of poverty. E4A evaluations create a critical line of sight between action and impact.

Some Champions provide support by building awareness, others align through their day-to-day work, and others dedicate and combine resources (staff time, funding, etc.) to create sustainable groups that capture and mobilize the efforts of all involved.

VCC works with Champions in a number of ways, including increasing public awareness of how together we’re tackling the root causes of poverty and helping make changes to programs, services and supports; as well as changes made to policies, regulations, structures and practices that impact Calgarians living in poverty. 

Individuals can contribute to poverty reduction and champion the strategy by taking the Poverty Pledge and committing to different actions.

Champion highlights

We're all interconnected in some way or another

The Enough for All strategy is in place to raise awareness, to define, and to reduce poverty in our city and to convene and connect the organizations, collaboratives and individuals working in various ways to reduce poverty throughout Calgary.

Considerations as we approach poverty reduction

Ways everyone can help reduce poverty

    • Leave the stigma behind, challenge your assumptions about poverty.
    • Try not to focus on poverty based on one individual, poverty has to do with systems and structures. 
    • Take political action to influence government – voting, letters, political engagement, etc.
    • Become more educated about poverty, spread awareness, focus on the root causes.
    • Choose to volunteer or engage in community service.
    • Consider the systems that are maintaining poverty in our city and seek change.
    • Take the Poverty Pledge.

Transformative change

What the Enough for All strategy proposes is that Calgarians come together not to have the same conversations we’ve already had or affirm the status quo. We aren’t just here for incremental change; we are pushing for ways to be innovative in the disruptive and game-changing spaces where we can transform the lives of Calgarians and apply generational thinking.