By Katherine Matiko, Communications Coordinator, Catholic Family Service
Photos by Sharon Lynn Photography

Generous sponsors, donors, table purchasers, volunteers and 530 participants came together to raise funds for the Families & Schools Together (F&ST) program at the Ninth Annual UP & Away Charity Gala May 3.

Approximately $285,000 was raised that night, a record-setting total for the Gala! UPDATE: Final numbers show that in fact we raised $310,000 at the Gala!!

Led by Master of Ceremonies Linda Olsen of Global Calgary, the evening included a delicious dinner at the BMO Centre’s Palomino Room, a rousing performance by Calgary’s a cappella comedy troupe the Heebee-jeebees, and heartfelt speeches from CEO Patricia Jones and Kevin To, a F&ST parent graduate. The UP Gala’s signature Balloon Raffle sponsored by Fairfield Watson Benefits Consulting ended the celebratory event with a bang!

In addition to proceeds from two raffles, an exciting live auction and a tempting silent auction, two anonymous donors offered to match donations dollar-for-dollar to $75,000 – another well-received first for the Gala that boosted the fundraising total during the event.

A special thank you to Premium Sponsor Precision Drilling; Gold Sponsors Bennett Jones and Remington Development Corporation; Silver Sponsors Calgary Stampede, CEL Electrical Contractors, CIBC Wood Gundy, Hemisphere Capital Management Inc., Lafarge Canada Inc., Shaw Communications Inc., TD, Trident Capital Partners Investments Inc., and Volker Stevin Canada Ltd.; and Media Sponsors Global Calgary and Global News Radio 770.

Next year’s UP & Away Charity Gala is already in the planning stages. Mark your calendar for May 2, 2019 and join us! To reserve your table for the Tenth Annual UP & Away Charity Gala, please contact Stakeholder Relations Manager Jim Campbell at

The Families & Schools Together program is a world-renowned family skills program that supports each member of the family to be the best they can be – at home, at school and in the community. In 2010, the United Nations rated F&ST number 11 in the world out of 150 evidence-based family skills programs. Catholic Family Service introduced F&ST to Canada in 1996, and has continued to offer it in Calgary in collaboration with the Calgary Catholic School District and the Calgary Board of Education.