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Lethbridge's Community-Wide Celebration of Philanthropy

December 12, 2017

by Brandie M. Lea, MSc.

brandieWho doesn’t enjoy a great celebration? And, what can be better than celebrating acts of generosity?!

Every year, National Philanthropy Day (NPD) is celebrated on November 15, and this year a city-wide celebration of philanthropy took place during the week of Nov 14 – 17, in Lethbridge, Alberta.

With Canada leading the way by being the first nation to formalize a day of recognition for charitable works and Lethbridge (YQL) being named as one of Alberta’s most charitable cities,[1] it’s no wonder that there was reason for celebration!

You are probably wondering what happened, in a matter of a few short months, to build such a fantastic message of thanks to the great citizens of Lethbridge. 

First, people need a reason to buy in.  Perhaps it isn't about educating people on NPD specifically, as it is about giving people a reason to join in on sharing the message.  As people participate in the planning, education naturally takes place because they have initiated their own personal interest in the topic.  

Second, committed intentions were leveraged.  Once a highly-regarded organization such as the City or the Chamber was on board, that “gave permission” for other organizations to also follow suit.  These two factors were critical to the enthusiasm that grew around our week-long, city-wide message of thanks.

As a result, a large number of organizations joined with the AFP Southern Alberta Chapter to celebrate our community’s generous acts of charity.  Some of these organizations included:

  • The City of Lethbridge                                                    
  • The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce
  • Economic Development Lethbridge     
  • Volunteer Lethbridge
  • MP Rachael Harder                                           
  • MLA Shannon Phillips
  • University of Lethbridge                                               
  • Lethbridge College
  • Local print, radio and TV media, and
  • Local NPOs and businesses

The very busy and fun week's schedule of events included visible messages throughout the city using the hashtag and message #ThanksYQL… You Change the World with a Giving Heart. This message was seen:

  • on outdoor electronic signs
  • on indoor phone charging stations
  • at a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall
  • on flags flown throughout the city
  • at City Hall with the exterior lit with blue and gold
  • at the APF Southern Alberta Chapter’s Inspiring Philantrhopy awards luncheon
  • on cupcakes and hot choclate distributed to businesses to say thank you
  • in social media stories shared about local good deeds
  • as part of fantastic coverage by local media
  • communicated by NPO representatives volunteering their time to an initiative that impacts our city
  • on approximately 40 NPO banners displayed at City Hall

Response from community members, businesses and fundraising professionals was extremely positive and enthusiastic.  The message of thanks recognizing our city’s philanthropic acts was heard loud and clear.  

 city hall

flag ceremony

cell charging station 

I am happy to share more about the initiative, as a lot was learned!  Feel free to contact me at Brandie.Lea@ULeth.Ca with any questions or to discuss it further.

Brandie M. Lea, MSc. is Faculty Development Officer at the University of Lethbridge.

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