Living Standards | Work, Poverty, Housing, Education And Learning
Community Connections | Neighbourhoods, Indigenous Peoples, Immigrant Newcomers

Momentum Community Economic Development Society

We partner with 4,000 Calgarians a year who are seeking a sustainable exit from the cycle of poverty.

Our Story

Why We Exist

Our city has a strong tradition of giving our neighbours a hand up and creating new ideas and opportunities in the process; we have pride in ourselves and in each other. But even in the midst of a thriving city like Calgary, we also see poverty close at hand. Over 100,000 Calgarians live in poverty – more than the population of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Research now shows that it would cost Albertans less to eliminate poverty than it costs to simply alleviate the consequences. In fact, a recent report concluded that poverty costs Albertans $20M a day. There is a much more desirable alternative: reduce poverty now and prevent it in the future. We can’t waste the potential that our neighbours have to offer.

By connecting people to their dreams, Momentum contributes to a flourishing community and economy. Momentum understands the complexities of living life on a low income and we honour the knowledge, skills and ambition of people that come through our doors by creating opportunities for them to contribute.

Our Impact

What We Do

We partner with individuals who are ready to move out of poverty, for good. They become the small business owner on your favourite street, the pipefitter working on the new downtown high-rise you drive by each day, or your next hire who could finally afford her college diploma. Our goal is for everyone in Calgary to have the assets they need to get ahead in life, and contribute back to the community.

We also take what we learn from our participants and look at the bigger picture: what causes people to fall into poverty in the first place? We work with and through others seeking broad-based change in policies and systems, so that everyone can participate in a thriving local economy.

25 Years of Momentum:

  • $2.4M has been loaned to local entrepreneurs in support of their small businesses;
  • 70% of trades training graduates are employed in their field 6 months after graduation;
  • 135 families bought  their own homes with matched savings

2015 Year in Review:

  • The economic downturn made  2015 a challenging year for Trades Training program staff. We had a 75 per cent increase in the number of applicants. We worked with over 200 community organizations this year, which helped us make more difference for more people.
  • Momentum’s matched-savings programs help participants build assets and develop habits that lead to sustainable prosperity. In 2015, 200 participants used over $285,000 in matched savings to buy assets like education and tools for work.
  • Momentum’s Business Development programs support people to run and fund their own businesses. Last year, 75 active micro-loan recipients created 115 jobs.

Our Programs

How We Do It

Momentum’s Business Development programs help transform great ideas into vibrant small businesses. Participants write a business plan, learn from others in business and access micro-loans from Momentum. From bakeries, bike maintenance, and pet grooming to importing and fashion – the 70 entrepreneurs who will launch a business this year through a Momentum program are creating a healthy local economy and putting their talent and knowledge to work.

The Trades Training program connects immigrants and Aboriginal persons with high-demand careers in the Trades. Safari, one of Momentum’s Trades participants, went from working on a chicken farm to being a skilled Glazier. The program meets the needs of unemployed or under-employed people, as well as those of industry.

Our free Financial Literacy workshops empower people to take control of their money – even while living on a limited income. To date, over 20,000 individuals have taken our Money Management workshops. Our Matched Savings programs fuel hope for the future. Over 100 families have become new home-owners through these programs and hundreds of others have used their savings for university or college or purchased the tools they need to work.

We are also taking what we have learned and spreading the word. We train 20 new organizations a year to deliver our programming. We sit on the committees that make recommendations for municipal and provincial poverty reduction strategies. We support financial institutions as they seek to better serve those who often fall through the cracks.

Our Requests

What You Can Do

Your investment in Momentum ensures we can directly partner with 4,000 Calgarians a year as they find their path towards a sustainable livelihood. This might mean operating a thriving business, having a rewarding career in the Trades, or even purchasing a new home. And the return on investment for Calgary is huge. Business owners create employment and income for others. Parents save for their children’s education and invest in our future work force. Home owners pay taxes and become a part of our neighbourhoods. These people create untold value and a better future for our city.

You can also help us spread the word: write a story about Momentum, talk to us about how to integrate Community Economic Development into public policy, and mention us to potential participants.

This work is made possible by people like you. You know what it is like to be given an opportunity to grow and improve your livelihood – and want others to have that opportunity as well. Partner with us as we create an even more vibrant city, for all of us.

Stay Connected


Brian Hill

Momentum Community Economic Development Society


Charitable Number: 883793218RR0001

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