John Currie was a founding member of CHF’s board of directors in 1998 and its first vice-chair. He served as the organization’s second President and CEO, from 1999-2004.
In 1996, John attended a dinner put on by two committees on homelessness that brought together politicians, people experiencing homelessness and the business community. At the time, he was a senior executive for a petroleum company and represented the Downtown Business Association. During a speech, he declared that the business community had a role and a responsibility to help solve the problem of homelessness and should be invited to help.
John had said it had been his first opportunity as a businessperson to speak on the issue. He was convinced that the planning and development talents in the business community could be utilized when confronting complex societal issues.
During those first years of existence, largely led by John, the foundation raised and contributed millions of dollars for 73 projects helping people experiencing homelessness. Alongside the Community Action Committee, CHF developed an efficient system to identify priorities, screen projects and find funding to make projects happen. Some projects included the construction and completion of The Salvation Army Centre of Hope and the new Calgary Drop-In Centre, along with funding supportive housing and post-addiction transitional housing. He regularly spoke about changing public perceptions about homelessness, the importance of research projects and advocating to increase the availability of affordable housing in the city.
Following his tenure as president, John served as board chair until 2007. In 2017, he was named an honourary member of CHF’s board of directors, and remains an honourary board member, in memoriam. John passed away on Oct. 13, 2022 and we honour and recognize his commitment to the #fightagainsthomelessness.