Investing in early childhood literacy together to build tomorrow’s workforce


October 21, 2015

CALGARY, AB – Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Calgary Economic Development, with the Calgary Public Library Foundation and Place2Give Foundation today announced a historic collaboration, Give to Grow, a campaign to improve early childhood literacy in Calgary.

The Give To Grow campaign launching during Small Business Week, October 18-24, 2015, will invite local small businesses to engage and donate to support early childhood literacy. The program seeks to encourage local business and citizens to support four local charities that specialize in early literacy programs: Calgary Public Library, Calgary Reads, CanLearn and Further Education Society.

In Alberta, 29% of kindergarten-aged children—a higher proportion than the Canadian norm – are experiencing great difficulty in one or more areas of development essential for learning (ECMap, the Government of Alberta’s Early Childhood Mapping Project). It is estimated by the end of Grade 6, at least 30 per cent of Canadian children cannot read or write well enough to succeed in school.

Give To Grow is encouraging local small businesses to make an investment in the future by supporting early childhood literacy. “It can be as simple as putting a book donation bin in your place of business” notes Adam Legge, President and CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “Children that develop a love of reading are on their way to becoming engaged citizens, and contribute to a healthy future workforce for the city of Calgary.” 

“Calgary needs a well-educated, literate workforce to grow our economy now and in the future,” says Mary Moran, President & CEO of Calgary Economic Development. “The return on investment for literacy is higher during early childhood than any other point in a person’s life — these are the leaders of the future.”

“Building a literate community is imperative for the economic and social prosperity of Calgary and Canadian communities everyone,” says Brent Buechler, Vice President of Calgary Public Library Foundation.” We hope this unique partnership model will raise awareness and support for our most treasured asset – human potential.” 

Give To Grow is a made-in-Calgary initiative and the first program that is a partnership between Calgary Economic Development and the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. Visit to find out more information and donate. Small businesses can learn more about the campaign at a session held Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 1:30 pm in TELUS Spark Room#1.


About Calgary Economic Development

Calgary Economic Development is an opportunity-maker, helping to spark and fuel Calgary’s growth. Our job is to connect people with resources that can help them grow their careers or businesses, thrive in new locations or markets, and feel at home in our community. We offer a wealth of information to help everyone succeed and we tirelessly promote Calgary, in Canada and around the world. We’re exhilarated about our role in shaping and sharing Calgary’s story and we’re proud to be part of the energy. For more information, please visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @calgaryeconomic.

About the Calgary Chamber of Commerce

The Calgary Chamber is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. For 124 years the Chamber has worked to connect Calgary’s businesses, help them grow and expand their influence in an effort to make the city an even better place to live and work for all.

Calgary Public Library Foundation

The Calgary Public Library Foundation was created in 1999 to provide an opportunity for all Calgarians to participate in building a library system for today and future generations. Its vision is to enable the citizens of Calgary to have the best public library in theworld.

Place2Give Foundation

The Place2Give Foundation is proud to be a partner in this initiative. We believe that by taking a "mutual fund" approach to philanthropy we can achieve measurable impact. The Give to Grow fund is a group of 4 organizations, that combined together, can show how they are pushing the needle in the area of childhood literacy and the long-term impacts on our local economy."


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Media Contacts

Calgary EconomicDevelopment

Claire Griffin, Manager, Marketing & Communications Media Cell:403.880.7040


Calgary Chamber of Commerce

Contact Scott Crockatt, Director of Marketing and Communications, at or403-681-5529



Investment in Early Childhood Literacy is Good Business

Literacy is the first step in developing tomorrow’s workforce for small and large businesseshere in Calgary. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Institute for a Competitive Workforce in Why Business Should Support Early Childhood Education estimate that the annual inflation adjusted rate of return on investments in early childhood education is 16 per cent.

Calgary requires a well-educated and skilled workforce to grow our economy of the future. At the cornerstone of developing skills is literacy. It’s a critical factor in success and the return on investment for early childhood education is extremely high.

On average, 18,500 children are born in Calgary each year and numbers indicate that there are more than 77,000 children under the age of four. Based on Alberta’s current literary statistic we estimate 1 in 3 children live with adults who have low literacy rates. While 44% of kindergarten aged children in Calgary are experiencing difficulty and great difficulty of Language and Thinking Skills.

Building human capital through better-educated children means the country’s future workforce will be more highly skilled. A 1% increase in literacy rates could boost the national income by as much as $32 billion, noting that an economic payoff of more than $80 billion could be achieved if all Canadians reached the desired level of literacy.

While the early stages of literacy are most often built at home through language interaction and play, Programs, instruction and materials, including those offered by our charitable partners, may offer the only opportunities children have for exposure to important skills before they enter school.

If you are a small business in the city now is the time to invest in your community. It is goodfor Calgary and your business. Every dollar invested in early childhood literacy will build a better workforce for tomorrow. Organizations with corporate citizenship programs in place achieve high rates of returns in every aspect of their business.

You can learn more by visiting or by attending the Give to Grow breakout sessions at Calgary Chamber’s Small Business Week.