Giving back is a personal story for each and every donor, from the reason why an individual chooses to give, to choosing the right organization to support, to choosing when and how much to give. Giving back can come in the form of time, or a monetary donation. It can be a sense of duty, a means of community, or just a way to feel good and pay it forward. Giving back can take place now, or in the future through planned giving. No matter how, when, or how much, one Calgary Stampede Foundation Donor, Dick Olver, will tell you that when giving back, the most important thing to do is to support what you believe in—whatever that may look like.

Dick Olver and his wife Beth’s connection with the Calgary Stampede all began with a clarinet.

“One day, my daughter Kate came home from school with a poster for the Calgary Round-Up Band and said ‘I’d like to try this,’ so she joined [the showband community], and I guess [my wife and I] joined too,” Olver said with a laugh. “Following the Round-Up Band, Kate progressed to the Calgary Stetson Show Band and then got into the Calgary Stampede Showband. She was in the Stampede Showband for about six or seven years and played the bass clarinet,”Olver explained.

During Kate’s showband career, Olver and his wife became heavily involved in the showband community, both members of the Calgary Marching Show Band Association parent group during Kate’s time with the Round-Up Band and Stetson Show Band, and where Olver later held the position of President for three years.

While Kate was with the Stampede Showband, Olver stepped in as a chaperone on many tours and greatly enjoyed the time spent with his daughter. Following that, Olver was asked if he wanted to join the Calgary Stampede Band committee, where he is a volunteer today and has been a member for just shy of 10 years.

Dick Olver and his wife Beth being thanked for their support by the Calgary Stampede Showband.

Not only has Olver given generously to the Calgary Stampede Foundation through his time, but he and his wife have also given monetary donations to the Foundation.

“I believe in the Stampede. I believe it’s an organization that deserves both my time and financial support, because of the connection we’ve had with the Showband. It is a wonderful program. I like what they do and they’ve turned out some great musicians—and some great citizens,” Olver said.

One of his favourite memories with the Calgary Stampede was during a Stampede Showband tour he chaperoned to the United States. He recounts that the Stampede Showband had been neck and neck with another Showband all weekend and ended up tying for first place at the competition. After the final event, the Showband was gathered outside, when someone approached the Showband and asked if they would play O Canada, so the Showband came together and started to play an impromptu concert, following O Canada with their rendition of You Can Call Me Al.

“It was dark and they were playing Al. I was taking photos with film—not a digital camera—and I saw Kate and snapped a picture. I had no idea if it had turned out at the time, but it became this really neat picture,” Olver reminisced.

A smiling Kate Olver, playing the bass clarinet in 2009 with the Calgary Stampede Showband.

When asked for advice on how to choose an organization to support, Olver offered useful advice. “Choose an organization that you believe in; an organization or cause that deserves your time or financial support,” Olver suggested. “It’s also important to look into the organization you are considering giving to—do they handle their assets well? Is the organization well run?”

The Calgary Stampede Foundation isn’t the only organization that the Olvers support; they are also donors to the Prostate Cancer Centre at Rockyview Hospital, United Way, the Lutheran Synod of Alberta and a theology school in Saskatoon, all of which they have a connection with and believe in as charitable organizations.

So why do the Olvers choose to give?

“It’s something we feel good about. We have always given. Even going back a number of years ago, we would always make sure we had a number of organizations to give to every year. Now our donations are a little bit larger than what they were, but you give what you can. We’ve been fortunate and we should give it back. Part of it is that we can give back and part of it is because we want to be able to support things that do good in our community.”

When it comes to giving back to organizations, there’s usually a connotation that you have to be wealthy to give, but Olver believes that’s simply not true—anyone has the power to give.

“Do I give the largest donations that the charities I support have ever seen? No. But do I give based on what I’m capable of giving? Yes,” Olver noted. “We can also give back in different ways. You can give an investment or you can give your time. I also volunteer at the Rockyview Hospital. I like it, I enjoy it and want to give back and choose to give my time there.”

Dick and Beth Olver are just one of the many generous donors and supporters of the Calgary Stampede Foundation. As a team, the Calgary Stampede and the Calgary Stampede Foundation have a strong commitment to developing the potential of youth in our community, providing them with the means to become spirited citizens with strong roots in western heritage and values. In particular, the Stampede Foundation supports The Young Canadians School of Performing Arts, the Calgary Stampede Showband, Stampede School and 4-H on Parade.

In anticipation of National Giving Month in December, the Calgary Stampede Foundation will be hosting general information sessions in November on Planned Giving to charities of your choice. For more information on the Planned Giving sessions, please contact Sandra Lunder, Manager, Philanthropy and Community Investment, Calgary Stampede Foundation at 403.261.9345, or slunder@calgarystampede.com.