Kids Up Front Foundation

Kids who live on the street and in shelters. Kids whose families and worlds have dissolved. Kids who live in poverty. We provide time away from worries and stress in enriching environments. One little ticket, one big lift!

Our Story Why We Exist

One Calgarian with an extraordinary vision has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deserving children attending their first concert, hockey game or theatre performance! John Dalziel was tired of seeing hundreds of empty seats in the Saddledome and knowing many tickets were being wasted in a desk drawer.

He pictured seeing empty seats filled with kids who would never otherwise be able to afford a night out at a Calgary Flames game or a pop concert! Since 2000, Kids Up Front programming has grown significantly, and we distribute almost 29,000 experiences annually through 209 registered partner agencies! Thousands of kids get their very first ticket to a show, the ballet, a play, a festival, or a football game thanks to our generous donors. 

  • Our kids may be experiencing the effects of poverty.  
  • Our kids may have lived on the streets, in shelters, or foster care. 
  • Our kids may have a life threatening illness and get a VIP experience with an athlete or celebrity!
  • Our kids may be newcomers to Canada and cheer at their very first hockey game!

Our kids may be living with no food or power, and donors come together to give them a special night out that they will never forget.

Our kids may be lonely and isolated. Kids Up Front programs can engage them with their mentors, peers and the larger community. 

Our kids deserve a chance to be kids!

Our Impact What We Do

Kids Up Front is celebrating 16 successful years in Calgary. We give kids a chance to just be kids, to enjoy a night out with loved ones, to get much needed respite and relief, and to support families to engage in their community!

For many in our city, an evening at the theatre, a children's festival, a live performance or sporting event is outside of their financial reach. Poverty is a significant barrier to inclusion for many of our kids. Other families are struggling with social issues, family breakdown, health issues and significant personal stressors.  

We give kids and families a much needed break, time together and time for renewal, to allow kids to just be kids! We fuel imaginations, inspire dreams, spark creativity, and help create memories that will last a lifetime.

Highlights of 2015:

  • distributed over $1.2 million worth of ticket opportunities 
  • hosted 170 Kids Count special events
  • filled over 200 suites at the Saddledome 
  • partnered with 209 local charities and agencies
  • facilitated almost 29,000 amazing experiences for deserving kids
  • welcomed T the Ticket as our mascot
  • debut of our Saddledome float in the Calgary Stampede Parade!
  • grew our volunteer program to over 100 registered and trained support people!

Our Programs How We Do It

The Can't Use Your Ticket program is our largest and founding program. We provide free access to sporting, arts, recreation, arts, cultural and educational events for deserving children in Calgary and surrounding communities. Our goal is to give children experiences and memories that will last a lifetime, and opportunities that they may not normally receive. While other agencies provide food and shelter, we provide nourishment of the spirit, respite and relief in times of adversity. Kids can attend a hockey game for the very first time, go to the zoo with their parents while receiving services at the Children's Hospital, or attend the theatre with peers from their school progam.

Through our Kids Count Program, kids can meet the actors of a playhouse and get a backstage tour, go to a cooking class, or try curling with their mentors! They can get autographs with celebrities and athletes, venue tours, or go on field trips. 

Our most exciting program, Getzlaf's Gamers, is a wonderful partnership between Ryan Getzlaf, a former Calgary Hitmen and captain of the Anaheim Ducks, the  Calgary Hitmen, and Telus to bring groups of deserving kids to a suite for a Hitmen game, pizza, beverages, autographs, swag, an appearance on the Jumbotron, and a chance to meet Farley the Fox and the Calgary Hitmen players! These are incredible nights of pure and simple joy; our kids can just be kids and they have a night to remember for a lifetime!

Our Requests What You Can Do

As a small team of four people, Kids Up Front relies on our strong base of very dedicated volunteers to help us run our programs and fundraisers. Our Suite Ambassador Program is our largest and most-loved volunteer opportunity for those wanting to make a difference for our organization and the kids we serve. Come on out and support us by being an ambassador at the Saddledome and get a chance to watch your favorite hockey team with a great bunch of kids and their chaperones! We provide training and all of our volunteers require security checks and screening. We would be happy to assist you to come on board as a welcome member of our KUF Krew. Please contact our office for further details!  

  • Do you have a talent or skill that could make our programs even better? Contact us or call to donate tickets. Phone: 403.444.4318
  • Do you have access to an event or experience that would be amazing for our kids? Contact us and let us see if we can make some dreams come true! 

We operate on a lean budget; all of our events and opportunities are donated. We do not receive any government or United Way funding. We operate through individual and corporate donations, sponsorships, grants and several annual fundraisers created and managed by our staff. 

Any and all donations to ensure the continuation of our high-quality programming are welcomed and appreciated!

The priority for our organization is to ensure the continued success of our grassroots founding program "Can't Use Your Ticket".  This was the vision of our founder and remains our largest program.  $5 can provide one child with an event and a cherished memory! A donation of $250 gives 50 kids the opportunity of a lifetime, and fuel for their passions.

Donate your tickets to this program, and Kids Up Front will ensure that kids get out to the event and have a great time! When possible, we also ensure that donors receive thank you cards from the lucky recipients of their tickets.  We appreciate your support!  So, the next time you have theatre tickets that you can not use, give us a call and help us make someone's day a little brighter!

Please also check out our newest and innovative fundraiser being held August 12 to 14, 2016: Stranded: Water Valley.  This is a fierce outdoor competition with 16 contestants vying to be the champion of a series of challenges modeled after the famous Survivor television show!  Follow our campaign on-line, read the contestants' stories and vote for your favorite competitor with a donation.  Help us raise over $32,000 with this inaugural event; click here to learn more about our Stranded fundraiser.


Evan Patterson
Executive Director
Charitable Number: 863522124RR0001

Donate Now

Finance & Governance