A young man tries to sleep under a busy Calgary underpass


Complex challenges like job loss, illness, and the mounting cost of living prevent many individuals from building the life they hope for themselves. For too many people across our community, poverty is a daily struggle. It touches almost every aspect of a person’s life from food, shelter, and employment to mental and physical well-being. It’s a social and economic issue that impacts entire communities, and the people who live there.

United Way’s poverty reduction efforts are designed to achieve measurable results which ensure families and individuals have the financial, social, and personal assets they need to improve their quality of life. We work together with partner agencies to tackle the root causes of poverty by ensuring people meet their basic needs, and build towards stability with financial empowerment supports.

In 2017, United Way and agency partners supported 40,703 individuals in overcoming poverty.



Take action on poverty


Give today to support Calgarians to reduce and overcome poverty.

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Try to Make the Month

Visit this digital simulation to see if you can make it through a month living on a low income.

Try Make the Month



Meet Ken

Ken had a good education, a good job, and a great family. Then his life changed overnight.

Read his story



Patricia stands outside United Way partner agency Sunrise Community Link, where she accessed help

When Patricia fled abuse, she worried where she and her children could go. Now, they're finding home. 

Read Patricia's story


Alasdair smiles while cutting potatoes in the kitchen

After losing his job, Alasdair couldn't afford a meal. Now, he knows just how life changing that can be.

Read Alasdair's story


Nathan stands on a bridge in Calgary's Bowness neighbourhood

Raised in poverty, Nathan knows the impact it can have on a family – and the importance of accessing help.

Read Nathan's story



Focus on issues

Basic Needs

A woman feeds her son bananas and other fruit

Everyone needs food, shelter, and clothing. United Way ensures these immediate needs are met while also addressing root causes of these issues.

Financial Stability

A man calculates his expenses and makes notes on his monthly income

Financial instability can impact your entire life. United Way helps Calgarians access resources and build skills to manage their finances and save for the future.


One man teaches and trains another how to work on a car's engine

A job can change everything. United Way helps people build job skills so they can secure meaningful employment, helping them move out of poverty.



Poverty initiatives

Building on the Basics

This partnership works to make basic needs services more effective and evaluates their impact.

Enough for All

This collaborative initiative is working to dramatically reduce poverty in Calgary.

Learn more

Financial Empowerment

This citywide initiative addresses the root causes and immediate needs of poverty.

Learn more



Publications and research

United Way ensures its driving social change through rigorous research into social issues and their root causes. We also advocate for public policy and systems-level change to create long-term positive change in our community.

Look at our poverty publications