Liz O’Neill Award Fund


Liz O’Neill, Executive Director of BGC Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area (BGCBigs), has announced her retirement.

Liz has dedicated her entire career to BGCBigs, where she has been executive director for 45 years. Across the span of four and a half decades, Liz has led the organization through periods of incredible growth and success.

In 1979, when Liz accepted the role of executive director, the organization operated as the Big Sisters Society of Edmonton, providing community-based mentorship to girls. At that time, the organization had just 1.5 staff and served 24 clients with an annual budget of $36,000. In 1990, Liz led the organization through its first big merger with Big Brothers of Edmonton, enabling the organization to expand its services to provide mentorship to boys as well. And again, in 2011, Liz helped ease the organization through yet another first-of-its-kind amalgamation with Boys & Girls Clubs of Edmonton—further expanding its mandate and services, tripling the number of children served in the first-year post-merger.

Today, BGCBigs’ is a community touchstone, providing programs and services to more than 3,900 children and youth, with more than 1,900 volunteers and more than 140 staff, with an annual budget close to $11 million. Through it all, Liz has been rooted in the organization’s remarkable evolution— solidifying her legacy of commitment, leadership, stewardship and innovation through every growing pain and hard-earned success.

In fact, the Board and staff of BGCBigs credit a culture of ‘caring with intentionality and sincerity’ in the work they do—a culture that Liz herself has nurtured from day one. BGCBigs has a history of adaptability and innovation and has been able to successfully navigate all roadblocks over the years through their relationships in the community. By employing a progressive model of collaboration and partnering with others, BGCBigs has developed best-in-class ways to deliver services better and more efficiently.

The Board, staff, volunteers, children, youth and families are sincerely grateful for Liz’s lifetime of service to our organization and our communities locally, provincially and nationally and we wish her a joyful and fulfilling retirement.

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