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One small idea, one big effect

John Dalziel sat in the middle of empty seats at the Calgary Saddledome, wondering how those unused tickets could be used.


That was in 1999.


Fast forward to today: the Kids Up Front Foundation has sent more than 700,000 children and youth to games, events and experiences valued at more than $19 million. John’s original idea evolved around convincing Calgary corporations to donate their unused entertainment tickets to kids who couldn’t afford them.


“A friend and I sat in the front row of a world-class event on complimentary tickets,” recalls John, a former Calgary businessman now living in Vancouver. “I looked around and saw so many empty seats and I knew that those seats had been paid for and that those tickets were probably in somebody’s desk.


“I was determined to fill those seats with kids and their families who wouldn’t normally have a chance to go.”


Today, children and youth in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, and Halifax are enjoying experiences that otherwise might not be available to them: NHL, CFL and major-junior hockey games, theatrical productions, rodeos, symphonies, art classes and so much more.


Research shows children and youth who can be part of entertaining and recreational experiences have more confidence, do better in school and are general happier.


The Kids Up Front Foundation supports the work of the regional programs, protecting the Foundation’s integrity, ethical conduct, policies and procedures, financial accountability and program intent.