CUPS Corner: Who We Are & What We Do


CUPS is turning 30! As we count down to our 30th birthday on September 12th, we thought we would take this time to tell the story of who we are and what we do. The list below shows the topics we will explore on our blog over next six months to help you better understand CUPS:

  • April – Who We Are & What We Do

  • May – Understanding Trauma

  • June – Building Resilience

  • July – Our Impact

  • August – Prevention Through Systems Change

  • September – Thank-You for 30 Years!

You may have noticed some big changes at CUPS over the past few years – a new location, a new brand, and a new website. What may not be as obvious is the significant changes we have experienced internally as well. In response to advances in science and best practice, CUPS has shifted how we approach our work within the community. Moving forward, we want to use the next six months on our blog to talk about these changes as well as thank our community partners for helping us achieve our vision.

In 1989, CUPS opened its doors as a place where low-income and homeless Calgarians could get basic medical care and referral services. Since then we’ve helped thousands of clients. However, over the last 30 years the city has changed — and CUPS has changed too. Here is our Executive Director Carlene Donnelly on the changes she has seen (and led) during her 23 years at CUPS:

As a leader in the community, we realized that in order to make a lasting impact in the lives of our clients, we had to move beyond simply delivering basic services. As a result, we have adopted an evidence-based, integrated care approach within our work. This approach aims to provide the

various supports an individual requires to reach stability – while taking their distinct experiences and strengths into account. Our integrated programs and services (click here to learn more) fall under four areas of resilience that are important for success: Social-Emotional, Economic, Health, and Developmental:

Programs and Services at CUPS.JPG

Our vision is to help Calgarians manage adversity, reach their potential, and end the cycle of poverty and trauma for themselves and their families. We no longer just help people through hard times, we support them in ways that build resilience for the future. We don’t simply solve problems, we take a big picture approach that creates lasting, positive change for our clients, their children and our city.


We could not do the work we do at CUPS without the unwavering support of our partners. The Community Partner Spotlight highlights a partner that has been instrumental in helping us make a larger impact in our community.


RBC Photo.jpg

This year marks the 10th year of RBC being a supporter of CUPS. Talk about dedication to their community! This generous funding has been instrumental in helping CUPS get to where it is today. Not only has RBC been a consistent funder, but they also enlist volunteers throughout the year to help with our operations and events to make sure we can continue serving the community of Calgary. Additionally, one of CUPS’ own board members, Tasha Brown, is the Vice President of Financial Services at RBC.

The many ways that RBC supports CUPS have been instrumental in our journey to who we are today. We want to thank RBC for their commitment to helping us build better futures for individuals and families as well as creating a more resilient community for the last 10 years. We could not do this work without you!

Interested in getting involved at CUPS? Click here.

Written by: Kirsten Boda, Master of Public Policy and passionate about exploring solutions to complex social issues.