Ruth Ramsden-Wood believes Calgarians understand even small donations make a world of difference in their community.

Wood, president of the United Way of Calgary and area, adds that giving doesn’t need to come in the form of cold hard cash.

“We’ve always said that giving (money) is not the only way to build a stronger community. It’s our attitude of connection. It’s our tolerance, awareness and understanding of social issues that move us to be less judgmental and to engage in solving problems,” she said.

Calgary’s tight-knit community feel is one reason, despite an economic downturn, Wood said sets our giving city apart from others across the country.

“I think that Calgarians feel connected to some of the woes and challenges in our community — and the challenges that some people are facing.”

Recognizing it as an investment in their community, Calgarians have little problem giving back — accepting that they reap what they sow — and each dollar donated or each minute volunteered builds the strength of the city, according to Wood.

Wood says Calgarians can continue to actively build their communities, not only financially, but by volunteering, advocating for a cause, or getting a group of like-minded people together for change.

“Figure out how you could make a difference. How could you engage the people around you to do something ... move to be engaged.”