The Werklund Foundation strives to have a maximum impact through the charities that we support. We invest in programs and initiatives with the capacity to yield the highest return on our most important asset, our youth.
Our goals include empowering students with the confidence, resilience and motivation necessary to realize their potential. We achieve this through meaningful and sustainable partnerships with educational institutions, other foundations, and community initiatives.
The Werklund Foundation founded Empowering Minds™ in 2006 because we wanted to provide all teens the opportunity to improve their confidence and become empowered as leaders. Empowering Minds became its own public charity in 2012 and the Werklund Foundation remains the largest benefactor to the “Teen Leadership Breakthrough” program. We are also the very proud presenting sponsor of "Live & Unsigned" - Empowering Minds' signature fundraising talent show at the Taylor Centre for Performing Arts.
Empowering Minds is a Calgary-based not for profit that provides youth and educators alike with proven and innovative leadership programs that develop the confidence, motivation, and resilience necessary to thrive in today’s world.
Through Empowering Minds programs, youth experience learning in a new way. With a focus on social emotional learning our programs challenge youth to be more aware of themselves and their relationships.
The programs highlight the importance of setting and achieving goals, self-management and leaving a positive impact on the world around them. Empowering Minds partners with schools, community initiatives and local and corporate funders to deliver sustainable, unforgettable programs for youth.
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 national, bilingual service providing counselling, crisis response, information and referrals – accessible in every province and territory. Kids Help Phone knows the problems facing youth and are Canada’s leading experts in youth mental health and e-mental health solutions. Saving lives, helping young people, impacting communities – in any moment of crisis or need.
They have a proven track record of creating innovative services and delivering them in novel ways. In 2019, the Werklund Foundation partnered with Kids Help Phone as a Founding Donor to launch the Navigation Technology Program powered by the Patrick and Barbara Keenan Foundation. This new program will navigate young people through a continuum of new and existing e-mental health services and tools at Kids Help Phone. This technology will reduce crucial wait times and allow young people immediate access to appropriate support. .
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides direct service to children and youth facing adversity by matching them with caring volunteers in quality one-to-one mentoring relationships. With the guidance and support of a caring mentor, the children and youth who come to Big Brothers Big Sisters for support build their social emotional competence and executive functioning skills, allowing them to become resilient and realize their full potential. Through mentorship, young people are reminded that they can be anything they dream of being.
The Werklund Foundation's investment in Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta Economic Futures Council program will help to support additional program reach including high needs schools and aboriginal communities; technology enhancements to increase student reach, student engagement and operational productivity; and sustainability of rural program delivery. For more than 60 years Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta has been a leader in its mission to help students develop an entrepreneurial attitude, a solid and practical understanding of business and finance and a commitment to community.
Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta reaches nearly 35,000 students annually with 1,800 dedicated business volunteers. Junior Achievement is the link between education and the world of work by giving youth the confidence and knowledge they need to define personal success, enhance their workforce readiness and pursue their dreams.
Classroom Champions is a year-long in-classroom, scaled mentorship program that partners world-class athletes with teachers in underserved schools to engage students in grades K - 8 in a safe and enriched learning environment. The program is designed to help kids develop the critical social and emotional skills needed for success both in, and out, of the classroom while supporting teachers and engaging families.
WE is a movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. The charity encourages young people to get involved with your family, school, company or as an individual. WE makes doing good, doable.
On March 13, 2018, Werklund Foundation and WE announced a new partnership that brings to life a shared dream of engaging every young Canadian across the country in service learning. Through combined values rooted in youth engagement, the two organizations are teaming up to set the foundation for a comprehensive national youth service strategy to equip all young Canadians with the academic knowledge, personal skill development and social engagement they need to become true leaders of social change in their communities.
YPI is an inclusive, multi-award-winning secondary school program that grows compassionate communities by connecting youth to social issues, local charities, and philanthropy at a pivotal stage in their adolescence. YPI engages students within their community and develops teamwork, communication, research and presentation skills. What do people in a student's local community really need? YPI doesn't tell young people the answer to this question. It empowers them to find it for themselves. Student groups are challenged to provide a presentation about a charity that is meaningful to them. The top group presentations compete to win a $5,000 grant for their charity. As this is often the first chance for students to learn philanthropy, we are proud to partner with YPI to provide grants to the winning charity and to teach young people about the value of giving.
Youth Central inspires, engages and celebrates youth through community participation. Youth Central offers volunteer and leadership opportunities to youth aged 12-18. The organization endeavours to change the perception of youth in the community by giving youth the tools and support they need to become engaged, empathetic and caring citizens with a sense of ownership and responsibility. They support youth in building valuable skills for future employment, give youth a voice, and grow youth’s understanding of their community - building Calgary’s leaders of today and tomorrow.
Youth Singers of Calgary is a volunteer-based, performing arts company offering music education and performance programs in Calgary. Youth Singers provides an inclusive and engaged community which gives young people the opportunity to grow and express themselves through the performing arts. Through the incorporation of an exceptional choral music education program, including singing, dancing and theatre arts for children, teens and adults, Youth Singers enables creative minds to find themselves and find their voice - to grow as musicians and to build the required skills for performing locally, nationally, and internationally.
Story Avenue is an annual set of writing workshops held in Edmonton for all of the Grade 5 and 6 students from five Edmonton schools: Mee-Yah-Noh, Norwood, Oliver, John A. McDougall and Delton. The program was started in 2007 and offers professional children's authors and illustrators teach writing workshops for approximately 400 students. Session sizes are small, allowing for some one-on-one interaction between students and artists. Each child receives a healthy snack and also takes home the gift of a book by one of his or her instructors. The Werklund Foundation is proud to be a sponsor to offer Story Avenue free of charge to the schools who participate.