The Story of the Top 7 Over 70

The Top 7 Over 70 Awards is a dream-turned-reality for founder Jim Gray, a renowned Calgarian, oil patch pioneer and philanthropist. Over the years, Jim noticed award programs sprouting up for people in a myriad of demographic groups, except for those who were older in years. At the same time, he seemed to be meeting an increasing number of people who were starting new ventures and initiatives even after they reached traditional retirement age.

The vibrant contributions these people were making to the community seemed to be getting a bit overlooked by society and Jim decided he was going to do something about that. He began dreaming — and talking — about an awards program that would recognize the contributions of community members after age 70.

“I am struck by the dynamic contributions I see Calgary seniors making in every facet of life, adding to the richness of our community,” says Jim. “That’s why I thought it is time to celebrate the unique achievements of seniors by recognizing the Top 7 Over 70.”

Jim and fellow philanthropist Brian Felesky began rounding up a coalition of acquaintances and business professionals to help turn this idea into a solid project. They also partnered with the Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society, an innovative non-profit organization that assists thousands of seniors each year through its numerous programs.

The result was the formation of a volunteer committee that is working towards the recognition of the first Top 7 Over 70 at a gala on Oct. 2, 2017. (For details on the gala, please click here.)

Any senior who is 70 or older as of Oct. 1, 2017 — and lives in Calgary or its surrounding communities — is eligible to be nominated. Ideal nominees are those who have started something different or new, or implemented a new venture or idea, after age 70. The focus of the awards isn’t on past accomplishments or lifetime achivements. Rather, individuals should be nominated for new accomplishments. These achievements may be based or built on previous work or commitments, but they should have a “current” flavour or different twist, or perhaps be occurring in a completely new arena.

Nominees’ accomplishments can be occurring in fields such as: health and recreation; arts and culture; science; business; volunteerism; environment; overcoming adversity; and making a difference. To get more information on these categories and on the nomination process, please see the “nominate” tab on the menu of this website’s homepage or click here.

Another goal of the awards is to promote and encourage achievement of others, in addition to the nominees. To that end, the awards will be raising funds to initiate programming to foster engagement between seniors and younger people. The exchange of ideas, advice, experience and mentoring will be key to this venture. Watch for more details on this program in the coming months.