CommunityWise Annual Report is here!

Thank you to all of those who were able to attend our successful 2018 Annual General Meeting! Weren't able to attend? Read the note from our Board below and click here to view the full Annual Report.

Message from the Board

The CommunityWise Board of Directors would like to extend our thanks to all of you for attending the Annual General Meeting for 2018. This is our organization’s 39th year in existence, and this past year has been truly amazing.  As a member-based organization with an incredible (incredible!) staff, this success is because of all of you! This annual report goes into further detail about all the ways in which grassroots social change is making an impact for thousands of Calgarians and building a more  equitable non-profit sector. Here are a few items from the Board:

This past year we met every second month and  had two  orientation  and strategic  planning  sessions. Board members were also part of the  finance,  governance, human  resources,  and lease  committees,  along with  community  members and  staff.  We benefited from  the  exceptional work  of  the Anti-Racist  Organizational  Change process  (AROC),  receiving training  from  AROC and  working  with staff  to update  policies and  practices  to  put  anti-racism into  action. Other  highlights include  hiring  new permanent  and  temporary staff:  Finance  and Office  Coordinator  Sarah Zhu,  Summer Student Eman  Hussen, Administrative Support  Di Honorio,  Project Coordinator Megan  Asselin, and AROC  Support  Staff Sameen  Ashraf.  Each of  these  individuals has  brought  a ton  of  talent and  experience  to our  organization  and we  are  thrilled to  have  had them  working  with us!

The  last  year has  included  a lot  of  emphasis on  developing  board skills,  especially  in advancing  our  theory of  change  and using  consensus  decision making,  and  on building  our  overall cohesion.  We’re  excited to  be  moving ahead  with  the City  on  our lease  and  supporting the  excellent  work of  our  staff  and  our members.

Along  with  the standard  board  business, the  best  part of  our  role is  hearing  about the  amazing  work  of  our members.  We're  incredibly proud  of  all of  our  members and  the work YOU do,  day in  and  day  out.  We thank  you  and appreciate  you.

In  solidarity,

CommunityWise Board  of  Directors


Congrats CommunityWise member award winners!

Each May at our Annual General Meeting, CommunityWise recognizes a small group of incredible members by giving out Member Awards. Read about the five 2018 receipients below! 

Spirit of CommunityWise #1: Eritrean Canadian Community Association. 

The Spirit of CommunityWise is awarded to a member who contributes to the vitality and spirit of our centre with their ongoing programs, services, events, meetings, and presence. The Eritrean Canadian Community Association, a member at the centre here for 30 years, has had an extremely exciting and busy past year expanding their services at the centre and coming together to promote unity and advancement of Eritreans while increasing the understanding and appreciation of Eritrean Heritage.

Spirit of CommunityWise #2: Calgary After School Program.

The Calgary Afterschool Program operates out of CommunityWise and the Beltline Fitness Centre next door. They facilitate creative and flexible programming for resident youth. They and their participants bring amazing energy to many parts of the building. The youth leaders' compassion, genuine care in the delivery of the program, and ability to adapt to the changing needs of a shared use environment like ours is no small task and does not go unnoticed.

Community Award: Change the Face of Addiction. 

The Community Award is offered to a member organization that strives to create a more equitable community, by providing barriers-reduced space, resources, and programming and/or by advocating for the specific needs of diverse communities. The Community Award for 2018 is awarded to Change the Face of Addiction who are doing leading edge and grassroots work in Calgary around the importance of harm reduction and changing the narrative about addiction in this time of crisis.

Collaborator Award: Calgary School of Informal Education (CSIE).

The Collaborator Award is offered to a member who has over the year cultivated relationships, connections, engagement opportunities, and collaboration at CommunityWise. CSIE has been able to bring life to the space downstairs, and are experimenting with different ways to engage folks and partners. We are excited to see what happens next for them.

Spirit of the Old Y: Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids (BB4CK).

The Spirit of the Old Y is awarded to an organization that has been with the Old Y building for many years (in this case, 11 years) and embodies the spirit, historic purpose, and present values of our centre with their ongoing programs and services. BB4CK is an amazing tenant member: consistent, supportive, caring, and proactive. They have also supported CommunityWise through connecting us to new programs and resources for the benefit of all members.

2018 Annual General Meeting – details & documents

2018 Annual General Meeting – May 31


Year-in-Review – Board Elections – Member Awards – Refreshments – Feedback Opportunities – Group Photo

All member groups: please plan to send at least one representative and feel free to bring friends and family. Community members welcome too!

The AGM is a great opportunity to participate and to learn more about our past year at CommunityWise, while meeting other fantastic CommunityWise members!

*Food provided! Bring a potluck dish to share if you’d like*


Thursday, 31 May 2018 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (doors at 6pm)


CommunityWise Common Room – 223 12 Avenue SW

(this is a mainfloor, wheelchair accessible space, and there is an accessible and gender-neutral washroom)

CommunityWise is located in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The city of Calgary is also home to Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III. 


Emcees: Courtney Robertson and Aminah Malik (Board of Directors)

  1. Welcome, Land Acknowledgement, and Introductions
  2. Group Networking Activity
  3. Approve the Agenda for AGM May 31, 2018
  4. Approve the Minutes of AGM May 18, 2017
  5. Business Arising from Minutes of May 18, 2017
  6. Presentation of Annual Report by Staff Collective
  7. Presentation and Approval of 2017 Audited Financial Statements
  8. Board Elections and Announcement of 2018-2019 Board
  9. Member Awards Ceremony
  10. Announcements
  11. Adjournment and outside for group photo


A DRAFT of the 2017 Audited Financial Statements can be found here (the Membership will be asked to approve the Audited Statements at the AGM upon recommendation by the CommunityWise Board of Directors).


Five applications to the CommunityWise Board of Directors for new three-year terms were received and will be decided on by the Membership at the AGM (please direct follow-up questions or concerns about any of the applications to prior to the AGM).

Please see their names and bios below. Five Board Members will also be leaving the Board at the AGM.

Chris Jensen – Calgary Centre for Global Community/Humainologie (Tenant Member)

Chris Jensen is the Director, Operations of Calgary Centre for Global Community and Humainologie. She has extensive administrative and management experience, including strategic planning, organizational and intercultural communication, staff and volunteer management, training and workshop development and facilitation, and day-to-day operational necessities. She worked for 10 years in the Middle East, both in the United Arab Emirates and in Qatar, and developed a growing awareness of the inequities, discriminations and divisiveness that are inherent in our global community. Because of that, she keenly supports and defends equity and justice for all, and believes that human-to-human connection with open, honest communication can be one place to start healing many cultural and societal wounds.

Erin Jenkins – Calgary Queer Arts Society (Tenant Member)

Erin is a Calgary-based arts administrator and musician, who works at the intersection of programming, event management, audience development, education and activism. She has worked with The Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival since 2015 as The Operations Manager, and as an active tenant of The CommunityWise Building, understands the unique needs of the space and the value provided to the community. She has particular expertise in fund development and grant-writing, which has lead to securing major project grants for Fairy Tales, including the development of a feature-length documentary on the history of queer activism in Calgary.
From 2009-2014 she worked with Theatre Junction Grand as the Education and Outreach Coordinator. She also acted as the organizations’ primary grant-writer, sourcing and securing $1,000,000 in annual funding from all three levels of government, as well as private foundations and corporate sponsorships. She has also served on the jury for Calgary Arts Development.
Erin is also an active artist in the local music scene and has released a number of albums and completed cross-Canadian tours with various musical projects. She holds a BFA in Drama and a BA in philosophy from the University of Calgary.
Wendy Treschel – Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids (Tenant Member)

I am a working mother of 4 older kids (24,21,18 and 16). I have worked for Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids for the last 6 years as the Volunteer and Fund Development coordinator. Like with most smaller organizations, I do a variety of jobs that I am hoping will be of value to bring to CommunityWise. I love to help organize everything and am an open and honest person. I am friendly and enjoy meeting and getting to know new people. I am excited to start volunteering more now that some of my time has freed up. 

Syma Habib – Community Member

Syma Habib is obsessed with ideas, community, intersectionality and imagining new ways of being and relating to one another. She currently works at the Alex Community Food Centre where she was a part of the founding team. She built and coordinates the community action program, which focuses on making social justice and advocacy work accessible to low-income and/or marginalized Calgarians.  She believes that justice is as fundamental as love, compassion and understanding, and works hard to remove people’s discomfort with the colonial understanding of the word.  Syma has only lived in Calgary for a few years, but is so proud to live in this beautiful city full of kind people.  She loves story-telling, the outdoors, slow food, and dancing.

Megan Asselin – Community Member

Megan Asselin is an Anishinaabe Métis woman with roots in Northwestern Ontario and her heart in Moh-kíns-tsis (Calgary). A Registered Social Worker and MSW student with an interest in community development practice, she has been working and volunteering in the non-profit sector for more than 20 years. Getting her volunteering start in historical interpretation and (failed) service dog training, Megan has since grown into a love of community organizing that focuses on inclusion, equity, and an interest in social justice that has been getting her in trouble since the fifth grade (sorry, Miss P.) Megan has been a participant in CommunityWise’s AROC process, serving with both the Advisory and Working groups, since 2016.

As per the CommunityWise Board of Directors Terms of Reference, prospective Board Members were asked to provide written responses to the following questions, in addition to submitting a bio. Responses will be sent directly to the Membership.

1) Why are you interested in serving as a Board member for CommunityWise?

2) What are your perspectives and/or experiences that you will bring to the Board?

3) Please check area(s) of knowledge/skills you feel you can bring to further our mission:

  • Advocacy
  • Evaluation
  • Financial/Accounting
  • Fund Development
  • Governance
  • Human Resources
  • Legal
  • Policy Development
  • Community Engagement
  • Strategic Planning
  • Other

4) What group(s), organization(s) or community(ies) do you represent, participate in, or identify with (both inside and outside of CommunityWise)?

5) Anti-Racist Organizational Change (AROC) is a current strategic focus of CommunityWise. What do you hope to contribute to this work? What do you hope to learn?

6) Please share any additional information you feel is important in considering your application as a Board candidate.

Member Spotlight: Calgary Centre for Global Community (CCGC)

Calgary Centre for Global Community (CCGC) – Tenant Member (April 2018)

Interviewer: Maddison Coulson. CommunityWise – Practicum Student.

Interviewee: Chris Jensen. CCGC – Director, Operations.


What is the name of your organization?

Calgary Centre for Global Community (CCGC) – founded 2008.

Humainologie – multimedia production house, established 2015.

Can you summarize what your organization’s main objectives are? What are the mission/vision/value(s) that your organization abides by?

CCGC aspires to build a culture of people who are capable of bringing about extraordinary positive change through informed and sustained civic engagement.

Humainologie’s mission is to promote the recognition of our shared humanity, through raising empathy and awareness around issues of vulnerability, human connection, and breaking down barriers between people.  We are all interconnected, and cooperation is vital to create a future in which we can all thrive.

How has your organization changed over time?

In 2015, we founded Humainologie to be a multimedia production house for CCGC to help increase empathy and understanding, as well as raise more awareness about ourselves and others.

Why did you feel the need to start this organization?

We felt the need to start Humainologie because we identified the ability to expand our influence and our impact, recognizing the need for increased empathy and understanding and raising awareness about ourselves and others. Through connection to ourselves and each other, we are able to accept and appreciate our own and others individual uniqueness, beauty, and imperfections. Through film and other multimedia content we reach a wider audience and have a bigger impact on increasing understanding.

What is it like working at CCGC? What is a typical day?

A typical day looks like connecting with partners in the community to see if and how we can collaborate, managing logistics for different events, and running the office.

What are some challenges working at CCGC?

As an organization, funding is a challenge, and so is raising our own profile. Also, because we’re so small, it gets a little lonely. However, reaching out to the community helps. It can also be challenging trying to break down barriers between other non-profits, but it’s important so we can start building each up.

Are there any new projects you are working on at the moment?

We’re looking at hosting our second annual Empathy Week, a series of programming to increase empathy and understand vulnerability. This will be held from June 1st– 7th.

We’re also working on our third annual film festival which will be held May 16thand May 17th.

We are also doing a podcast series called “Empathy Walk YYC” in which we will walk through the Beltline looking into historical buildings and the stories associated with those buildings.

There are currently two film series that we’ve done called Under the Umbrella we Met, and we are currently working on another in which we have partnered with Fairytales to address gender identities.

What is Humainologie in terms of CCGC? How are they different? How are they linked?

Humainologie is linked to CCGC in the way that CCGC is the legal entity and Humainologie is the production house. They are separate in that CCGC still has its own projects, such as the Social Transformation Tournament, and Humainologie does the multimedia side, such as films, podcasts and web series.

How has being a member at CommunityWise impacted your organization?

Working within CommunityWise raised our awareness about a lot of other good work happening in the city, and we have been able to make connections that we might not have otherwise made. It allowed us to partner with other members like SEEDS Connections, and Fairytales, as well as some other non-profit organizations.

Is your organization hosting any events coming up soon that folks might be interested in?

Yes, there is going to be the film festival on May 16thand 17th,2018, at the Globe Theatre. Empathy week is from June 1stto 7th, 2018, with programming to be held in various locations around the city. The third annual Social Transformation Tournament will be held in September 2018.

Where can folks go for more information about your organization?


Facebook: Humainologie


Facebook: CalgaryCGC

Member Spotlight: Refuge Recovery Beltline

Refuge Recovery Beltline – Associate Member (March 2018)

Interviewer: Maddison Coulson, CommunityWise – Practicum Student.

Interviewee: Aminah Malik, Refuge Recovery Beltine.


  • What is the name of your organization?

Refuge Recovery Beltline

  • When were you established?

The first Refuge Recovery meetings started in Los Angeles in 2008, and then the book Refuge Recovery (from which the program is based) was published in 2014. Our group, Refuge Recovery Beltline, was established in December 2014.

  • How has your organization changed over time?

Three years in, there are now over 300 Refuge Recovery meetings worldwide. There have been three Refuge Recovery Conferences in Los Angeles, where the greater Refuge Recovery community has come together to practice together, and discuss the program as it rapidly grows across the world. At the Refuge Conference in 2016, the Refuge Recovery Guiding Principles were established. In 2017, geographic regions were delineated so that Refuge Recovery communities in the same region could connect and support one another.

The first year our group was established, there were anywhere from 2 to 10 people in a meeting once a week. We started in a little space on 17th Avenue that was located underneath a retail space. Having an online presence brought more attention to our community, as we developed a Facebook page and website early on. At the end of 2015, we found CommunityWise Resource Centre (CW), and began renting the Arusha space in early 2016. Because of the inclusive and affordable space CW offered, we quickly became self-supporting, and started our second meeting. We were now offering meetings on Monday and Thursday nights, and we quickly began to see about 20-30 people in each of our meetings every week!

In 2016, we began to develop a very healthy, close-knit recovery community. More and more people became interested and involved in Refuge. Treatment centres in Calgary began recommending our meeting as part of their programming. By the end of 2016, the demand for another meeting was high. In early 2017, we started a Beginners meeting on Sundays, in addition to our two existing meetings. The Beginners meeting aimed to support those just starting out in the Refuge Recovery program, by focusing on foundational practices. We also had the support of several mentors actively working with members in the group.

The Refuge Recovery Beltline community has grown considerably since 2014. We were so pleased to be able to bring in one of the founding Buddhist teachers of Refuge Recovery, Dave Smith, to offer a talk and workshop for our community in the summer of 2017. Earlier in the same year, the Clinical Director of Refuge Recovery Treatment Center in LA, Dr. Stephen Dansiger, came to CommunityWise to offer our community a talk. It has been wonderful to be able to support our community in more ways than simply offering meetings. The talks given by Dave Smith and Dr. Dansiger are available on our website.

  • Can you summarize what your organization’s main objectives are? What are the your mission/vision/value(s) that your organization abides by?

The main objective of Refuge Recovery is to work towards a full recovery from all forms of addiction, and to develop a lifelong sense of wellbeing and happiness. The program recognizes a non-theistic approach to recovery. It is an abstinence-based program whereby members practice mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness and generosity (the core principles of the program).  The program aids in the process of healing the underlying conditions that lead to addiction. Refuge Recovery recognizes that the group’s health and wellbeing is of utmost importance – that personal recovery depends on connection with a healthy, safe, confidential and stable community. Each group refrains from violence, dishonesty, sexual misconduct and intoxication, and aims to remain accessible to all who seek recovery from addiction.

  • Tell me about “Refuge Recovery”, the book on which you base your recovery.

The book is written by Noah Levine, a Buddhist teacher and founding teacher of the program and Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society in LA. The book provides a systematic approach to recovering from all forms of addiction. Levine outlines the traditional Buddhist system of the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path – which, in this book are used as a framework for recovery. The book also contains personal stories of recovery, meditations, and meeting formats and resources for those looking to start a meeting of their own.

  • Why a Buddhist approach?

In the beginning, we were only a small group of people that truly felt the need for an alternative recovery program – something other than traditional 12-step based recovery programs. We were not sure if the program would catch on in Calgary, or if other people in recovery would find it helpful. Over three years, we’ve grown to be the largest Refuge Recovery group in Canada. In my opinion, recovery is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ thing. People are different, and each of our recovery journeys are unique. A Buddhist approach is just one way to do it. I’m personally very happy I found it, because it works for me. And I’m very happy to have been able to share it with other people, and see it work for them too.

  • What is the Eightfold Path Study?

On Thursdays, our meeting is an Eightfold Path Study. Eight chapters of the book are each dedicated to a ‘Fold’ of the Eightfold Path. Each week, we read and discuss one of these ‘Folds’.

The Eightfold Path is easiest described as spokes on a wheel, rather than a step-by-step, linear process. Recovery happens when all spokes are balanced, and ‘true’. The Eightfold Path is:
1. Understanding
2. Intention
3. Communication/Community
4. Action/ Engagement
5. Livelihood/Service
6. Effort/Energy
7. Mindfulness/Meditations
8. Concentration/Meditations

  • What is it like working/volunteering at Refuge Recovery? What is a typical day?

Each meeting follows a similar format: Introductions, Guided Meditation, Reading, and Sharing. A meeting is one-hour long. No previous meditation experience is necessary, and people are not required to read aloud or share, if they are not comfortable doing so.

Service work at Refuge looks different depending on which volunteer position you look at. Meeting Secretaries are responsible for opening and closing the meeting room, setting up and taking down the meeting, making tea, and facilitating the meeting. Secretaries also provide meditation instruction during the meeting, or delegate this to another member. Mentors offer time and guidance to those just starting out in the program – this is typically done on a one-on-one basis. We also have a group treasurer that collects and manages donations. There is plenty of opportunity for members to get involved and volunteer, which is great.

  • What are some challenges working/volunteering at Refuge Recovery?

Meeting safety, accessibility and inclusion, and burnout prevention would most likely be the main challenges. The volunteers in our group are working hard at finding ways to make meetings as safe and accessible as possible. These topics are also being discussed at the Board-level.

Volunteering and mentoring can cause burnout, so we all must remain mindful of our own capacities to help others, and always try to look after ourselves first. Finding balance can be challenging, but we work at it consistently. Group support is great for this.

  • Are there any new projects you are working on at the moment?

Refuge Recovery Beltline is hoping to offer a retreat or workshop in the future with a Buddhist teacher based out of Portland. He started one of the very first Refuge Recovery meetings! We are also working on organizing more social events, like movie nights and potlucks.

  • Is your organization hosting any events coming up soon that folks might be interested in?

Check out our website, Facebook and/or Instagram for upcoming events!

  • Where can folks go for more information about your organization?

Facebook – Refuge Recovery Beltline

Instagram – @RefugeRecoveryBeltline

Main Website –

Beltline Website (including current meeting schedule)

Email –
– You can request to join our email list to get notifications about upcoming events.

Casino Fundraiser May 15 & 16, 2018 – Volunteers Needed!

Our next fundraising casino is coming up Tuesday May 15 & Wednesday May 16 at Elbow River Casino (218 18 Ave SE)​. To sign-up for a shift, or for more info, please contact​ ​ 

Position descriptions can be found below.

CommunityWise will cover taxi costs if needed. Food will be provided at the casino.

This is our​ ​biggest fundraiser of the year and funds raised go toward keeping our building operating and​ ​ensuring access to affordable and equitable community space. It’s also a way to meet other CommunityWise members!

Overview of Casino Positions

General Manager: 

Responsible for the overall continuity of the casino.  Makes sure all volunteer staff arrive and if not, has access to reliable back-up volunteer phone numbers.  Some data entry experience is required.  Can fill in for any volunteer positions for a short period (not a complete shift) of time if needed.


In control of the cash and chip inventories.  This position is mostly data entry.


Redeems players’ chips for cash.  Little data entry required.


Delivers chips from the Banker to the game tables as required.  Will count chips with the gaming floor staff as required.  A fair amount of data entry is required.

Count Room Supervisor:

The count room supervisor is responsible for all count room staff and procedures. The count room supervisor reports to the general manager, and works with the general manager and banker.

Countroom Staff: 

Will sort and use money counting machines to count money.  Some data entry required.