Meet cups key investor | Jerilynn Daniels

Regional Director, Community Marketing and Citizenship, Royal Bank of Canada—the gift of the giver

Introducing Jerilynn Daniels


Jerilynn Daniels is the Regional Director for Community Marketing and Citizenship at Royal Bank of Canada, Alberta and Territories. In her role at RBC, she is responsible for philanthropic giving, sponsorships and activations, and marketing support for the more than 140 branches across the Alberta and Territories region. After graduating in Psychology at the University of Calgary, she made a career in fundraising in the not-for-profit sector and a five-year turn in community investment at Bell before joining RBC. A passionate community supporter, her dedication was rewarded in 2012  as a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal recognizing her work in Calgary and internationally.


"I feel privileged to do what I do,” acknowledges Jerilynn. In 2020 RBC aligned more than $140 million in donations to strategic priority pillars, directing funds to local community organizations and causes in the places where it operates, making it one of Canada’s most prominent community supporters. For someone as passionate about community as Jerilynn, she feels her work is a gift—the gift of the giver.


Jerilynn is celebrating her 10th year at RBC, and she is also celebrating ten years of partnership with CUPS. We have a long-standing relationship with CUPS, and they continue to be one of the outstanding charities in Calgary. On every level, it has been a true partnership and a partnership that we value,” says Jerilynn.

Early Days


Ten years ago, when Jerilynn joined RBC, it was already funding CUPS Child Development Center's capital campaign (then known as One World). RBC’s strategic philanthropic focus at the time was children’s mental health. Jerilynn witnessed a CUPS dream come true.


In 2017, RBC reimagined its strategic pillars and announced a new strategy – RBC Future Launch, a ten-year, $500 million commitment to preparing today’s youth for the future of work.  At the time of the announcement, it was the most significant commitment made by a corporation to a single issue in Canadian history. RBC has to date, supported more than 3 million youth via RBC Future Launch.

Implementing Measurements


RBC carefully vets organizations that apply for funding. Funded charities are accountable to provide appropriate measurements of their impact.  RBC provides a mechanism for charities to measure their impacts which includes pre and post surveys. “An integrated measurement system is critical in this scenario,” explains Jerilynn. 


RBC’s sophisticated measurement system, managed by a dedicated measurement team, provides a measurement dashboard, and recipients of a certain threshold utilize it to demonstrate meeting their objectives. The tool monitors effective progress and includes data that charities can use for more compelling funding applications in the future. 


“There are a million different ways to measure, and it continues to evolve as we have more data and more information. Feedback from our partners is important. CUPS has been doing data collection longer than other organizations, and that is a story in itself,” says Jerilynn. 


Jerilynn adds that investing in the community is still an evolving practice, a continuum from transactional to transformational. “Every investment we are making is aligned, and we are driving impact - going from outputs to outcomes,” she says.  

"RBC’s commitment to community mirrors our vision to work together to help shape a better future for everyone. Their passion for social change and the generosity that accompanies it exemplifies the impact we can make when we come together with a common purpose. They are stellar partners in our work."

- Carlene Donnelly

Changing Gears


To stay innovative and current, quality organizations will continually adapt and grow to meet economic and political shifts. The Future Launch announcement created an opportunity for RBC to work with CUPS to identify programming aligned with the new focus area moving from a capital campaign to support practicum programs within the agency.


Students taking courses to work in frontline services, such as social work, psychology, and nursing, often have practicums as part of their course mandates. CUPS takes on students in a formalized practicum program that mentors and offers feedback in preparation for a professional career in the field. Adept at change management, CUPS perceived this as an opportunity to reassess its mandate and included brain science in the practicum program while aligning with RBC’s Future Launch.


The practicum program supports the four pillars of Future Launch. Students start building a professional network, gain boots-on-the-ground experience, and develop practical skills beyond their academic learnings.  Also included in the RBC Future Launch strategy is youth mental well-being. At the end of the practicum, students have real-life experience to include in resumes and professional contacts. It is not unusual for some students to accept full-time positions at CUPS.

Mutually Beneficial


“At RBC, we want our relationship with our funding recipients to be more than a transactional relationship,” says Jerilynn.  “CUPS is a classic example of maximizing the partnership. Together we bring the strengths of each organization to the forefront and leverage them wherever possible.” CUPS involvement in RBC’s Career Launch program, which hires 100 graduates annually, is an example of leveraging expertise. CUPS has assisted in the screening process of the young candidates. 


Many RBC staff volunteer at CUPS. On a personal level, Jerilynnn and her daughter have delivered wreaths to supporters purchased as part of an annual fundraiser during the holiday season. They also frequently volunteer with other agencies around the City. “As a Mom, it gave me the opportunity to have a different kind of conversation with my daughter. Together we shared an experience and got to see another perspective of how people live in our community,” shares Jerilynn. "It’s easy to write a cheque, but it is more visceral when you have to roll up your sleeves and engage with the mission and mandate of the organization.”


Most importantly, Jerilynn is grateful for the personal relationships that she had developed in the past ten years. "I have learned so much from these relationships based on sincere interaction, friendships, and the sharing of information”, she shares. “Carlene has been a role model in the community, and I have had the opportunity to not only witness her passion firsthand but to experience her incredible impact in making our community a better place for all.”

Celebrating CUPS


“CUPS is one of many organizations that help vulnerable populations, but its uniqueness comes from the scope of what it offers—from its clinics to housing programs. 

CUPS is a leader in what they do! I drive past CUPS every day and see the people lined up waiting to go in. As a member of the community, I take comfort in knowing that CUPS exists and they are there to help our vulnerable,” says Jerilynn.