Community funders add to City dollars for mental health and addiction fast-pilot projects

Thanks to the generous contribution of community organizations, $589,259 has been allocated, through Change Can’t Wait!, to test new ideas to help Calgarians facing mental illness and addiction.

Change Can’t Wait! funds fast-pilot projects that demonstrate results within 120 days of receiving funding. Lessons learned will inform the Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction strategy, currently under development.

“Calgarians have been asked to deal with a lot in 2020,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Even before the pandemic, we were in the middle of a mental health and addictions crisis. Fortunately, this is Calgary, where great ideas and community support are two things that are never in short supply. The partners who make up the Community Investment Table have partnered with The City to enable 16 more fast-pilot projects to get off the ground and begin helping people now.”

Generous community organizations helped fund selected fast-pilot projects by adding a combined $275,000 to The City’s funding. These organizations, together with The City, form the Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction “Community Investment Table”. They are:

  • Calgary Foundation
  • Calgary Health Trust
  • Hunter Family Foundation
  • United Way of Calgary and Area
  • Viewpoint Foundation

An impressive 177 ideas were submitted for consideration for Change Can’t Wait! Of those, 16 projects were selected for funding.

Karen Gosbee is the co-chair of a group of community leaders supporting the Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction. She lost her husband, George Gosbee, to suicide in late 2017.

“There are so many factors that contribute to peoples’ mental illness and addiction,” says Gosbee. “So this time, we’ve focused funding on ideas that will help reduce stigma and build community resiliency. Stigma is such a huge barrier to people seeking out and getting help when they need it. I know that first hand.”

Successful applicants were notified by email on August 28 and will receive designated funding amounts over the next few weeks, upon signing funding agreements. Funded projects will launch this month and have 120 days to demonstrate results. Project teams will submit a final report upon completion in January. Results will be shared in a report to City Council as part of the Community Action on Mental Health and Addiction Strategy in early 2021.

Visit to find out more. Please see attached download for more information on the funded projects.