Many people in this city spend their lifetime helping others, but few can live up to the example set by Jim Moore, who has had a lasting effect on the lives of more than 9,000 individuals who sought addiction treatment and housing support at the Calgary Dream Centre.
Moore has retired and was feted at the organization’s Legacy Gala last week as its founder and CEO, a position he held for all of its 20 years in operation.
It will certainly not be the end of his relationship with the centre, but he won’t be going to work every day to guide a staff and support so many disenfranchised people he passionately cares for.
Moore was born in Calgary and grew up in Inglewood way before it became a trendy district. He remembers as a pre-teen being taken by his grandfather to the Lighthouse Mission, across from where city hall is today, and tasked to hand out peanut butter and jam sandwiches to men who had fallen to the effects of alcohol. He says that experience planted the seed in his heart to go into the streets and care for those who were having a hard time in life.
He never stopped.
Throughout his successful business career in real estate and banking, Moore would take time during his lunch break to walk the streets and talk to and give money to men in need.
After setting up his own real estate company here, he was invited to join Canada Trust, moved to Toronto and became president of its real estate division responsible for 233 offices and 3,2000 agents across the country.
Then, 28 years ago, at a conference in Vancouver, he suffered a heart attack — he later returned to Calgary and became a consultant to the industry.
He became a board member at his church, First Assembly on Elbow Drive, and responding to Pastor Kenn Gill’s vision to better support men with addictions, Moore and other members visited a Dream Centre in Los Angeles and came back determined to set up a similar facility here
They looked for a building and selected the former Nite Hotel on Macleod Trail, well known as home to a basement strip club.
During negotiations, Moore asked the owner: “Do you want a legacy of taking clothes off women or putting clothes on men?”
Thanks to his contacts in the Canadian real estate industry, he was able to pry money out of the federal and provincial governments, and the building opened as the CDC with a staff of three and 12 clients.
Today, it has a staff of 80 and serves 380 clients.
The centre is in a 50,000-square-foot, six-storey building with 60 rooms. But before it could house men who had lost their way, it had to be cleaned up — a dark place with needles everywhere was transformed into a house of light and hope.
To be a guest, men have to have been detoxed for five days before entering a professional program that helps guide those caught in the cycle of homelessness and addiction into lives of purpose.
Moore’s passion and past experience has helped to grow the organization from one home with 12 residents to one currently serving 371 men and women in 48 properties across the city. And the city recently approved the centre as one of three organizations to be awarded parcels of below-market-value land to help address the housing crisis by building affordable homes.
That development will be led by the new executive director, Craig Hill, and the board, headed for the past 15 years by Bob Nash.
Moore may not be at the office, but he will continue to contribute as an ambassador for the Calgary Dream Centre, still caring for the disenfranchised.
A Calgary chapter of WNORTH, a global membership community and series of events dedicated to supporting women on a trajectory toward senior executive leadership, was founded in 2022. The organization is holding its annual WNORTH Summit in Calgary this year. The Calgary Petroleum Club is the venue for Time to be Bold on Nov. 8, presented by ATB Financial.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]