Meet the next generation of leaders in Calgary

Anna Murray and Michael Jolie are the first-ever recipients of The Culbert Family Award for Philanthropy.
Anna Murray and Michael Jolie are the first-ever recipients of The Culbert Family Award for Philanthropy.

Congratulations to Anna Murray and Michael Jolie – the first-ever recipients of the $2000 Culbert Family Award for Philanthropy!  The award was created by Mike, Heather, Lindsay and Sean Culbert. The Culberts recognize the importance of encouraging and empowering the next generation of Calgarians to get involved in their community and give back through charitable giving. It’s because of this that the Culbert family has been strong partners of Gen Next. Just as they want to invest in our community to make it better, the Culberts want to pass the torch to future leaders who will continue to work to make Calgary a great city.

Anna and Mike were chosen as the recipients of the first annual Culbert Award because they strive to create a philanthropic culture in their spheres of influence. They demonstrate how Calgarians can live their passion for change by giving back in all forms.  Both Anna and Mike are intentional about their leadership and how they promote charitable giving and involvement to help make our city great.

Congratulations again to these two inspiring winners! Our Media & Communications Advisor Felicia Zuniga was able to sit down with them and find out what the award means to them:

FZ: Congratulations! You have both just won the first-ever Culbert Family Award for Philanthropy! How do you feel?

AM: Honestly, I feel so grateful and incredibly appreciative of the recognition and the efforts of United Way’s Gen Next team and The Culbert family.

MJ: I’m very happy and very humbled. It’s a really nice feeling to be recognized when you’re doing something not to win anything, but just to try and help people. So it’s nice and a good indication that I’m making a difference in the city, which is what I set out to do.

 FZ: What do you think you might do with the money?

AM: It’s funny; Mike and I were just talking about that. I don’t know yet. I feel a little bit overwhelmed and will be looking for the right place to give back.

MJ: I also don’t have any specific plans yet, but I definitely do plan to invest it back into the city or community. I am looking for a way where it can really make a difference in one person’s life or a few people’s lives.

FZ: What advice would you give to other young people who are interested in philanthropy?

AM: Find an activity, number one. An essential key to living a balanced and sustainable life is giving back. It’s part of our Canadian fabric. Find a way to give back through a mandate that you really connect with and feel passionate about so it doesn’t feel like a chore or a job.

MJ: Yes, exactly, just do it. I think my view is that it’s everyone’s responsibility to get involved and help people out. We’ve all been helped out in one way or another, in small ways or big ways, throughout our life without us even knowing it. Sometimes it’s just good advice from a teacher. If you take a step back and think what if this teacher wasn’t there, where would I be now? So, I would say there are a lot of ways to get out there. Do something that interests you. Just say yes. Say yes to opportunities. You have choices to make each day. Say yes rather than no and you won’t regret it.

FZ: How would you describe United Way to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

AM: I would describe United Way as the mother ship of giving back! The team at United Way Calgary is great; every single person I meet who works for or with the organization has such an authentic and sincere disposition, as well as an impactful way of giving back to the city.

MJ: I have learned a lot about United Way through co-chairing my workplace campaign, as well as being part of The Next.  I always knew United Way did good, but I didn’t know how intelligently they did it. And how they worked with other people in the community to do it, and how they really just promote being involved with the community and doing better. And they provide a way to do that. And the way they invest to really make a difference – not just a band-aid solution – it really interests me and makes me want to get more involved.

FZ: Anything else you want to mention?

 MJ: I’d just like to thank everyone at United Way and the Culbert family. It’s really inspiring to be around these people, they make me want to get more involved. To be honest, I didn’t think I had a chance of winning this award, but now I’m actually inspired to do a bit more. Thank you!

AM: This recognition is further motivation to give back to this great city and its people. A huge thank you to the Culbert family and to the United Way.

Learn more about Anna Murray and Michael Jolie and their amazing contributions to our city here.