How ATB is working towards a Greater Good
ATB’s new Greater Good strategy is a long-term effort to help solve some of society’s greatest challenges.
By Erika Stark 25 February 2021 5 min read
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of coming together as a community, supporting our friends and family, and lifting up our neighbours.
At ATB, we’ve always been focused on helping Albertans through tough times—something that’s more important than ever amidst a global pandemic and ongoing economic uncertainty. Our team members have been working with community partners and mental health organizations to learn how we can best help build healthier communities throughout Alberta.
The result is ATB’s new Greater Good strategy, a long-term effort to help solve some of society’s greatest challenges. This strategy will inform how we partner with community organizations that can help us deliver the most impact on Albertans.
“Our purpose at ATB is to make it possible, and at the same time, we’re becoming a big-P Purpose organization. We are doing that by uplifting the wellbeing of Albertans financially, economically, and socially,” said Chett Matchett, Managing Director, People and Culture, Strategy, Operations and Greater Good.
“With the global pandemic taking a toll on the lives and livelihoods of Albertans, we believe the immediate opportunity in front of us is to focus on the social wellbeing of Albertans and helping to build healthier communities across our province.”
The Social Progress Imperative
ATB’s Greater Good strategy was informed by a framework created by the Social Progress Imperative. The framework is called the Social Progress Index and is a comprehensive measure of real quality of life that is independent of economic indicators.” The index assesses quality of life within three broad categories: basic human (needs such as nutrition, water and shelter), foundations of wellbeing (including health and wellness, environmental quality and access to information and communications), and opportunity (including personal rights, inclusiveness, and access to advanced education).
ATB’s Greater Good strategy focuses on three key elements of the index: access to mental health supports, access to education, and access to information and communications. These were identified after developing 35 indices across the province, and pulling out the three most pressing socioeconomic opportunities to address.
“ATB is in a unique position because of who we are and the marketplace that we operate in,” Matchett said. “We have the power, influence and opportunity in front of us to really focus on Albertans’ most pressing challenges, and significantly move the dial on solving them collectively as a team and with our partners.”
Access to mental health supports
Supporting Albertans’ mental health has long been a priority for ATB. In addition to our existing partnership with the Calgary Distress Centre, as well as our annual Teddy for a Toonie fundraiser, we are investigating and working to solve three key mental health-related challenges through our Greater Good strategy:
- How might we support the mental health of children, youth, and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond?
- How might we ensure Albertans have open and easy access to mental health treatment and resources?
- How might we reduce the stigma of mental health and mental illness, to make it easier for people in need to access resources?
“For many Albertans, the pandemic and economic challenges have increased the need for mental health support,” said Curtis Stange, President and CEO of ATB Financial. “It has also highlighted the unique ways that ATB can contribute beyond banking to help uplift the wellbeing of Albertans.”
Access to education
We’re working with partners like MindFuel and NPower to help youth and young adults from all backgrounds develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a diversified economy. Our partnership with Windmill Microlending provides microloans to skilled immigrants and refugees to gain Canadian accreditation and restart their careers in Canada.
With help from community partners like these, we are aiming to solve two key challenges around access to education:
- How might we positively influence and increase high school graduation rates and post secondary enrollment in Alberta?
- How can we best prepare Albertans for employment by building skills of the future to strengthen and diversify Alberta’s economy?
“Now is the time for us to start uniting together and thinking differently about how might we enable more people to get access to education so that they have that ticket to participate in our economy in a meaningful way,” Matchett said.
Access to information and communication
When the pandemic first started, many families were suddenly faced with the prospect of working from home, as well as helping their children access their schooling online. In a home with only one computer, the situation quickly became challenging.
“If you’re a family with more than one computer at home, you’re an anomaly,” Matchett said.
Reliable internet—and enough devices for the entire family to use when needed—isn’t universal. Access to the web, data and technology can unlock possibilities for education, employment and many other aspects of society.
This part of our Greater Good strategy is focused solving the following challenges:
- How might we ensure that ALL Albertans have access to a reliable broadband connection?
- How might we enable all Albertans to have equitable access to essential technology in order to: improve connectivity, increase access to education and employment, and reduce isolation?
“In Canada, the cost of the internet is actually higher than any other country globally that we would compare ourselves to from a socioeconomic perspective,” Matchett said. “And rural communities in Alberta and across Canada don’t have access to high speed internet. It’s something that people in urban areas aren’t always aware of.”
Recently, we partnered with the Water Valley Public Library to help residents stay connected with reliable Internet access in a town with traditionally spotty connection. We also worked with Silvera for Seniors to purchase tablets for their residents, enabling them to stay connected with family, friends and support networks during a time of increased isolation.
Greater Good in action
Starting March 1, ATB Up, the first Greater Good initiative, will engage Albertans in 10 days of challenges they can do from home. The challenges are designed to be simple, uplifting and inclusive, with the goal of raising up to $50,000 for mental health support in Alberta. Participants complete the challenges and post to social media with the campaign hashtag #ATBUp.
For every video or image posted or shared on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, ATB will donate $1 to Mental Health Foundation (Alberta). A new challenge will be posted by ATB every weekday on these platforms. Albertans can also subscribe to the challenge campaign, enter to win prizes and learn more about Mental Health Foundation (Alberta) on ATB Up's webpage.
“Now more than ever, those of us with the energy and resources to do so need to rally together to help make a positive impact on the social issues that matter most,” said Stange. “As a purpose-driven organization, ATB is dedicated to creating a brighter future and we encourage Albertans to join us in our efforts.”
Organizations that are interested in partnering with ATB on our Greater Good strategy can apply online.