12 May Turning Points gala helps emergency shelter support women
Twenty-five years ago, the Turning Points gala started as a dinner between friends, to raise money for the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.
That initial $150,000 started the shelter’s endowment fund. This year, 550 guests combined to raise a record $676,000 to support programs designed to end family violence and abuse.
That achievement is even more remarkable, says Turning Points co-chair Sherri Logel, given Calgary’s depressed economy and 100 fewer attendees than last year. The silent auction alone raised $115,000.
“It is heart warming to see the very generous support of the community,” says Logel.
Much of that support comes from Calgary’s homebuilding industry, which Logel and co-chair Shelly Norris have long been part of, along with their husbands — Tim Logel, president of Logel Homes and Cardel Lifestyles, and Alan Norris, CEO and chair of Brookfield Residential.
“It is an industry that gives. And this is about safe haven and shelter for families. That’s what homebuilders do,” says Shelly Norris, who is also board chair of the shelter organization.
Logel Homes, Cardel Lifestyles and the Norris family foundation are platinum sponsors of the gala, Royal LePage is a gold sponsor, and Brookfield Residential and the CREB (Calgary Real Estate Board) Charitable Foundation are silver sponsors.
This year was also remarkable, Norris says, because of a $100,000 donation from employees of BRC Group who, on their own time, refurbished and auctioned off a car to make the donation.
Her own involvement with the shelter began when her oldest daughter decided to donate there because of a friend’s abusive relationship.
Matching her daughter’s donation, Norris was asked if she wanted a tour.
Moved by what she saw, she volunteered to help with fund development.
Logel joined her in raising $2.2 million in 2010 to renovate the shelter, damaged by fire, and in 2012 the pair became co-chairs of the Turning Points gala. Since their involvement, almost $4 million has been raised through the event.
The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter was established in 1974 and has helped more than 200,000 women, children, youth and men build safe lives and relationships.
Currently, the shelter itself and its outreach programs — which range from a 24-hour family violence hotline, counselling, to court support to school programs with at-risk youth — offer support to 15,000 people each year.
And while the gala raises significant program funds, Norris says it is those loyal monthly and yearly donors who continue to sustain the shelter’s work.
“As the economy turns, unfortunately domestic and family violence grows. (Raising money) for the shelter is about everyone coming together. It’s what Calgarians do.”