Built on a Strong Foundation of Philanthropy

Built on a Strong Foundation of Philanthropy

By: Brenda Thompson, Director of Community Engagement

“Like the bricks and mortar that form our buildings, or the trees and pathways that provide our connection to the natural world, every donation you make not only shapes our campus, but upholds our legacy of creating good humans, thought-leaders, and global citizens.”

Heard. Smith. Ditchburn. Cross. Atkinson. Waterous. Chernoff. Rose. Kirker. Anderson. Buchan. Burns. Dover. Howard…

These names will no doubt be very familiar to every student, parent or guardian, teacher and staff member of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS). In fact, it would not be an overstatement to say that the buildings, facilities, and traditions by which we honour these individuals and families have provided our literal foundations, and shaped our legacy, for over 50 years. As we celebrate our golden anniversary, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the lasting impact that these momentous contributions have made on our School.

STS is an academic institution built on the vision, passion, and generosity of our community. This dedication to providing an outstanding education for exceptional students has been a hallmark of our School from the very beginning, starting with the donation of land by the Cross family for our campus. Donald Cross ’47, David Dover ’48, and Sandy Heard ’46, all alumni of Strathcona School for Boys, recognized the blessing they had been given and were committed to making sure future generations would share that same opportunity.


One of the pivotal moments in STS’s early history was a donation made in the interest of education by the estate of W.H. Atkinson. It was, at that time, the largest donation made in Calgary’s history, and it helped pave the way for the founders and administrators of STS to begin initial construction. Nearly five decades later, a significant and timely contribution by the Rose family has helped to make our new Rose Elementary Wing a reality; allowing our youngest students to set off on their academic journey with the best possible facilities, programs, and resources at their fingertips.

While tuition and government grants do cover our year-to-year operating expenses, we rely on fundraising to drive individual programs and all campus enhancements. The phenomenal financial support of our STS family has, to date, helped us to expand and upgrade our athletics, fine and performing arts, speech and debate, outdoor education, and Round Square facilities and programs, along with many others.

As Director of Community Engagement, my role is to cultivate relationships between people who want to make a difference, and our Annual Fund is the fundamental realization of that goal. This comprehensive effort is the only ongoing annual fundraising initiative that touches every single member of our community, and ensures our strong financial health, the maintenance and improvement of our campus, and a rewarding educational experience for all students. I’m pleased to share that our 2021-2022 Annual Fund campaign was the most successful in our School’s history raising more than $700,000, with donors stepping forward to provide much-needed support as we moved through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our third annual STS Giving Day, held last November, also broke the record for our largest ever single-day fundraising achievement. 

Once again, I would like to express a heartfelt and resounding “Thank you” for the overwhelming generosity shown by our STS community. Like the bricks and mortar that form our buildings, or the trees and pathways that provide our connection to the natural world, every donation you make not only shapes our campus, but upholds our legacy of creating good humans, thoughtleaders, and global citizens.

The STS Foundation

The Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) Foundation, which is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, was established as an independent charitable entity approximately 20 years ago. The Foundation serves to advance the long-term interests of the School and supports the School's mission by stewarding the land, buildings, and endowments, and with philanthropic programs, rejuvenates campus facilities, and supporting students through scholarships and bursaries.