Former MLA Murray Smith enjoys giving where he lives
By David Parker, For the Calgary Herald
December 6, 2011
Cheryl Nandee, left, received a cheque from Telus Calgary Community Board member Murray Smith.
Photograph by: Dean Bicknell, Calgary Herald
As a former provincial MLA who served in four cabinet portfolios on his return to Alberta in the fall of 2007, Murray Smith was much sought-after to offer advice to companies.
Smith held the diplomatic posting to establish the Alberta office in Washington, and the portfolios for economic development, labour, gaming and energy.
He is a member of the energy advisory board of TD Securities; on the advisory board of Hatch, a Canadian-based global engineering firm with more than 10,000 employees; and president of Murray Smith & Associates, which gives advice to clients in the North American energy sector. Serving as a director of Surge Energy, Critical Control Solutions and a number of private companies, Smith is a frequent commentator on energy analysis for media and busy on the speaker circuit, but none of these gives him the same satisfaction and good feeling as his position on the board of the Telus Calgary Community Board.
Apart from other significant donations across the country, Telus invests more than $5.4 million in the Calgary community helping not-for-profit institutions and local charities.
The TCCB, chaired by Ken King, chief executive of the Calgary Flames and Calgary Hitmen, was brought together by Telus chief executive Darren Entwistle as part of the company's "We Give Where We Live" philosophy to search out smaller, grassroots projects. They receive donations ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, which make a big difference to the kind of services they provide.
The board gives away $500,000 annually to Calgary organizations and cheques are always hand-delivered. It was presenting a cheque to Cheryl Nandee, executive director at Youville, that really touched Smith.
Youville operates residential recovery facilities for women who experience concurrent issues of addiction, mental health distress and a history of abuse. Started by Catholic nuns in the 1930s, the facility runs on a shoestring budget and relies on the dedication of Nandee and her group of volunteers.
After his tour, Smith not only was delighted to be able to present a cheque for $20,000, but says he frantically emptied his pockets into the coin fundraising jars before he left.
Smith has personally been involved in making cheque presentations to the Options program of Bow Valley College and the Calgary Public Library, and to Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter for its Small Multicultural Immigrants Learning Early Strategies program, which helps children of newcomers integrate into our society.
More recently he toured the Glenbow Ranch Park, where TCCB allocated funding to install QR codes on its interpretive signs. From smartphones, visitors can now access a database that provides audio and picture commentaries which have been compiled by students of Mount Royal University on a variety of topics .
TCCB is run by Telus senior manager community affairs Christi Cruz, who dispenses the grants that have supported over 250 projects since it was launched in 2005.
Cruz says she is eager to find more deserving projects and it is easy to apply through www.telus.com/ community. She's waiting.
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Black Friday brought a surprise to shoppers at The Grove, the fashionable centre in Beverly Hills, Calif., as Travel Alberta launched its winter tourism campaign with a snowball fight.
More than 15,000 snowballs were launched in its "White Out, Black Friday" event that brought to life some of the winter fun this province offers, which was also showcased in advertisements on southern California billboards and in TV commercials. The multimedia campaign also includes print advertising, social media and a new website that will entice residents to book winter vacations here.
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Twist Marketing has been awarded another interesting developing community branding and marketing assignment; this one enhancing tourism and encouraging people to live and work in the Village of Radium Hot Springs, B.C.
David Parker appears Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Read his columns online at CalgaryHerald.com/Business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or e-mail info@DavidParker.ca.
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