The Calgary Public Library Foundation has launched a new project in recognition of the contributions of well-known Calgarian Jim Button.
To kick off this new project, entrepreneur Avnish Mehta and his family donated $101,000 to the library in Button’s honour.
One thing about Button that led Mehta to make such a large donation was the positive way the philanthropist and beloved Calgarian influences those around him.
“He’s a supporter, he’s inspired, and he is the person that I feel like everybody goes to make a phone call,” Mehta says. “He’s going to give you an idea that is going to make your idea even better.”
He’s a glass half full kind of guy
Mehta says that Button is an eternal optimist and that he connects people for the greater good, whatever that greater good is.
“He’s always finding ways to bring people together for them to achieve their goal. He is an incredible human and he gives to everyone.”
However, Button wasn’t the only reason Mehta donated to the new library project. Mehta used to serve on the board of the Calgary Public Library from 2012 to 2021, while he and his wife were also looking for opportunities to donate and be involved in more charities.
“We want to start allocating and donating some funds to different charities, including the library,” Mehta adds.
Giving back to the community
Having been involved in building the new Central Library and with the public library in general for so long, Mehta was looking for other ways to give back.
“It was a matter of determining how we were going to get back more than just volunteering,” he says. “How are we going to get back to this organization that we think is sort of continuing to do incredible work in the community?”
That’s also where the idea of honouring Button and his community work came in, but Mehta wanted Button to do as little work as possible for this initiative.
“I want this to be about him, but I didn’t want this to be about him having to open doors and send out emails,” Mehta says. “I wanted to be like ‘let’s do this because here’s a person who wants community and values the library.’”
More about the initiative
The initiative in Button’s honour has three components to it: a curated reading list designed by 101 community connectors, five-themed buttons to help encourage kindness in the community, and Button will be included in the library’s Influencer Series.
Mehta says the Influencer Series is curated by the library and recognizes influential individuals in the community.
Essentially, the people chosen to be part of the series choose four or five other people that they believe should be highlighted.
When they chose Button, however, he took a different approach.
“What we did with Jim was that there are four titles in his influencer series and each one of them was chosen by a member of the family,” Mehta says. “He chose one, Tracy chose one, his son Jack chose one, and his daughter Amanda chose one.”
The importance of giving back this way
For Mehta, this new campaign is important because it helps the library continue its focus on helping the community access library services.
“It needs continuous momentum, we don’t know who may be excluded,” he says. “We don’t know who may be prevented from accessing the resources or information or any of the services that are being delivered by the library.”
With his family being born and raised in Calgary, Mehta feels it’s important to give back to his home in a way that can reach all corners of the city.
Check out the new initiative.
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