Zita Cobb

From left to right: Calgary Foundation president and CEO Eva Friesen, Zita Cobb and vice-chair of the board Bob Gibson

The Calgary Foundation welcomed 450 engaged citizens for its intimate luncheon on March 17 with Zita Cobb in celebration of its sixtieth year as a community foundation. Social media was ablaze with wonderful feedback and comments about Cobb’s message about community-building and philanthropy. Cobb shared how she has secured a resilient cultural and economic future for her rural home through innovative solutions and stressed the importance that philanthropy and social business have in sustaining community. Both the Calgary Foundation’s Twitter handle @calgfoundation and the event hashtag #CFlunchwithzita trended on Twitter that afternoon. A selection of great tweets include:

  • @calgfoundation: "I love @CalgFoundation's for Calgary, forever. Forever should be measured in 100-year increments." #CFlunchwithzita

As a former resident of Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Cobb has come full circle through a wildly successful career in high-tech back to her childhood home to sow the seeds of a social business rooted in the belief that charity alone would not sustain a community. She established the Shorefast Foundation, a registered charity with ventures that are viewed as community-owned assets, stemming from the idea that the key to resiliency for communities lies in the specificity of place. Her work of “keeping the most important thing, the most important thing” is guided by the belief that nature and culture are the two great garments of human life and that business and technology are the two great tools that can and should serve them.

Cobb’s presentation at the Community Foundations of Canada national conference in May 2015 was attended by over 800 delegates from around the world who shared great feedback about her cause and message on social media following her speech. Her feelings on nurturing community were felt when she said “either everybody matters, or nobody matters.” Her keynote address was met with a standing ovation from the crowd once she finished. Her belief that “community is the basic building block of human life” made her a natural fit for the national conference as well the perfect fit for the anniversary event.