CUPS Corner: How Science Defines our Impact


Over the last three months, we have talked about who CUPS is and the work that we do. From integrated care, trauma and Brain Science, to the Resiliency Matrix we continue to improve our mission to help individuals and families living with the adversity of poverty and trauma build resilience. By building resilience in people, we build a more resilient community for all. In addition to applying the principles of Brain Science, we have grown in our ability to demonstrate our impact in the community by moving towards evidence-informed practice.

As an agency, we deliver an integrated set of programs and services to low-income and homeless individuals and families in Calgary. When we look at the whole person, we can offer more than basic needs, we can help them overcome adversity and build resilience that spans generations. As a result of our desire to reduce poverty, we have consistently moved towards evidence-informed practice.

There are many ways to understand the difference we are making in the community. At CUPS, when we report our impact, we report on outputs and outcomes. Outputs measure the “what” of a program while outcomes measure the “how”. For example, when we say how many individuals were housed, this number is an output that does not give a holistic picture of the impact of our housing programs, but can be helpful for understanding our capacity and who we can reach. However, when we say what percentage of individuals were able to maintain housing, we are using an outcome measure to understand the success of the housing program. While outputs are helpful, reporting on outcomes demonstrates how CUPS’ programs and services have had an impact in the lives of individuals and families. And this helps us be accountable to our funders, the community and the people we serve.

Another way to demonstrate impact is by engaging with our partners who share experiences with vulnerable populations. To better care for socially vulnerable individuals with complex health problems, CUPS Calgary, Alpha House, and the O’Brien Institute at the University of Calgary have partnered to implement the Connect2Care program. Connect2Care is a mobile outreach team that provides care coordination for low-income and homeless patients who seek care in the emergency department or hospital. By implementing this program, Connect2Care improves patient care and health outcomes, patient and staff experiences, and reduces acute care use and costs.

Below is a video showing the impact of the Connect2Care mobile outreach team

Our outputs, outcomes, and client stories highlight the impact CUPS has had on the lives of many individuals and families that live with the effects of poverty and trauma. They also help us adjust our approach to ensure that we are truly making the positive impact we are striving for. As we turn 30 this year and take the time to pause to reflect on our work, we are thankful for the opportunity to support the community of Calgary and join in the journey of our clients. It is stories like Connect2Care that make our work and our community partnerships so rewarding.

C2C program impact

  • 147 Clients

  • 10,000 savings per person

  • 60% of clients found a family doctor

Community Partner Spotlight

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.



CIBC Wood Gundy has been in collaboration with CUPS for over 14 years and counting! Their ongoing support provides CUPS with amazing opportunities to continuously grow our organization, help CUPS create new boundaries for the non-profit sector and of course continue to help our organization build resilience for life. Not only does CIBC help us grow our business model, they also host a golf tournament in support of CUPS which is held annually every year! We thank you so much for your continuous support and partnership over the years. Thank you CIBC!

Interested in getting involved at CUPS? Click here.

newsFaby Martin