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Our History

Rise Calgary was formed out of deep partnership and collaboration between BowWest Community Resource Centre and Sunrise Community Link.


With over 20 years of experience supporting Calgarians, we're experts in poverty reduction and financial empowerment, providing trusted and reliable service.

Our humble beginnings

Resulting from a merger between BowWest Community Resource Centre and Sunrise Community Link, Rise Calgary was officially incorporated in May 2022.  With office locations all around Calgary, our small but mighty team specializes in stabilizing and empowering Calgarians who are fighting for a better quality of life.

BowWest started in the Northwest of Calgary in 1999, with office locations in Bowness and Ranchlands. They provided the residents of those communities with connections to economic, social, and educational opportunities, that helped them to lead more resilient lives.

Sunrise was formed in the Southeast of Calgary in 2000, and served residents of 18 communities in the Greater Forest Lawn area, providing them with access to basic needs supports, resource navigation, and empowerment programming.

In 2017 our agencies started to collaborate more closely on various programs to support Calgarians. This included our Community Resource Centre HUB Initiative, that brought our programs and services to communities in the Northeast and Southwest of Calgary. This deeper partnership brought our teams closer together as we shared ideas and resources to better serve our community members.


Creating social impact

In 2019 both BowWest and Sunrise began working with The Social Impact Lab, founded by the United Way Calgary and Area. The Social Impact Lab specializes in human centered design solutions, helping organizations to make meaningful change.

Through this process we wanted to test whether deeper partnership, collaboration, or even merging of our agencies, would create better outcomes for all Calgarians who were experiencing the impacts of poverty. We hoped to create these better outcomes by creating slack and efficiencies in our systems, processes, and human resources. This would allow us to provide programs and supports to all Calgarians, rather than just those in our traditional service areas, as well as allowing us to innovate further on ending poverty once and for all.

At the conclusion of our journey through the Social Impact Lab we decided to proceed with merging our agencies to form Rise Calgary. We started this process in 2020 with our systems and IT, and have continued this slow and steady work over the two years since. Engagement with partners, stakeholders, and community were vital to ensuring that the things that people loved about BowWest and Sunrise were retained, ensuring that Rise Calgary maintains the trust we have both built over the last 20 years.

This has brought us to today, where we proudly support all Calgarians as Rise Calgary. Helping them to fight scarcity and build new strengths, ensuring that everyone moves forward.

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