I believe that communities thrive when there is an interdependent culture and we’re all looking out for one another. I give back because I am able to and hope to ensure others in similar positions to do the same so that we can work together to help alleviate poverty.
Meet Amy Dixon
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I’m originally from the east coast (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia), but I’ve lived in Edmonton for just over seven years now. I work at EPCOR in their Community Investment department, and I’m also a landscape and abstract artist. Prior to EPCOR, I worked at United Way for five years as a Community Investment Specialist. I live downtown with my cat Looey J.
How long have you lived in Edmonton?
Tell me about some of your hobbies and interests.
Volunteering – I’m an in-school mentor with the Boys and Girls Club Big Brothers Big Sisters and it’s so much fun. That visit is often the highlight of my week! It is honestly just the best. I tell everyone they should become a Big Brother/Big Sister.
Travelling – I try to explore at least one new country a year I’ve never been to. I also love exploring spots around Alberta – there are so many great road trip opportunities.
Painting – when I’m not doing any of these other things, you’ll probably find me in my studio painting.
Edmonton festivals – One of my favourite parts about Edmonton is the number of festivals that take place. There’s always something to do! My favourites are Art Walk, Fringe and Folk Fest.
What is your approach to philanthropy and community?
Our community is only as strong as those who are most vulnerable. Beyond the fact that I think we all have a civic responsibility to give what we can to make our community a better place to live, I also approach my philanthropic giving as an investment. I want to support organizations and causes that are working to not only help with the immediate need (which is important), but that are working towards long term solutions. Edmonton is a pretty amazing place to live, and I want everyone to have the chance to take full advantage of all of the opportunities that exist.
Why do you support United Way?
I know it makes a difference! I feel very fortunate to have seen United Way’s impact at work first-hand while I was working in the Community Investment department. I know how many passionate people are working together to move the needle on poverty in Edmonton. I trust them with my donation. No other charity is able to collaborate with government, community and businesses like United Way (and I’m not just saying that, I really believe it!) The collaboration really opens the door for real, meaningful change.
As an example, All In For Youth – agencies coming together, working differently, breaking down silos and administrative barriers to work better together to support the most vulnerable kids in our community, and help them graduate high school. United Way helps facilitate that. One of the most important foundations of that program is that it takes a really holistic, or wrap around approach to service delivery. A kid isn’t just a kid – a kid is a kid within a family, within a community, within a system. To make transformative change, you have to look at all of those spheres. I really appreciate the work United Way has done to spearhead this project along with all of the other partners involved.
I just recently went to a volunteer event at Delton school. Delton is one of the most socially vulnerable schools in the Edmonton Public School District and part of the All In For Youth program. We did some reading, played outside, ate some pizza. I know some of these kids were likely facing struggles of some kind in their lives. But while we were there, hanging out during this after school program, we just had fun. They were able to just be kids. They were all so welcoming and eager to spend time with us. You can’t help but want to see these kids succeed. I want them and their families to be supported and included in our community. This is one example, but United Way takes this holistic approach with so many other initiatives. That sort of encapsulates why I support United Way.
What inspired you to give?
United Way supports the causes I care most about. Despite being an amazing city in so many ways, we still have a long way to go in Edmonton. There are a lot of people who need some extra support. I see it every day in my neighbourhood. You can’t turn a blind eye to it. Working at United Way and seeing the amazing work happening across our city, you can’t help but want to be a part of it, play a small role.
How long have you been supporting United Way?
Why is it important to give back to your community?
Because I can. Giving back to community and collectively trying to make it a better place to live is better in the long run for everyone.
I grew up in a fairly remote, small village on the east coast. There were no formal supports for people that were struggling. You really only had one another. So, for the most part, people stepped up and helped where help was needed. In a city, the dynamic changes, but I think ultimately it’s the same. In the end, we only have one another. So helping out where I can, when I can, is really important.