About Emmanuel Foundation

Emmanuel Foundation is a charity that exists to serve the poor in tangible ways. We desire to demonstrate God’s love by sharing our resources to create hope for a better tomorrow for individuals, families and communities of developing countries in the areas of their physical, social and spiritual wellbeing. We do this through getting involved in 3 different areas.

Playground Projects:  

We rescue decommissioned playgrounds that are destined for our landfills. After some refurbishing, we send them to areas of the world where children do not have access to developmental play. *

Shipping Containers:

We have developed a Distribution Centre which exists to send goods and materials to organizations that are actively involved in sustainable community development in developing countries. Emmanuel Foundation ships about 20 containers each year. These shipments of needed items include medical and educational equipment and supplies that will contribute to the success of these organizations’ endeavors. **

Community Development:

While on trips to build playgrounds, significant needs in many communities became apparent to us. Emmanuel Foundation has served some of these communities beyond providing goods and playgrounds through supporting initiatives such as safe water projects, school construction and training.


* Emmanuel Foundation founder, Gary Debney launched this initiative in 2002 in collaboration with two Calgary Parks and School Board representatives, Wayne Baptist and Ray Hauck. Gary has been involved in Parks and Recreation for over 30 years serving on Alberta and Canadian Parks and Recreation boards for many of those years and understood the importance of play in the development of a child. These men saw the potential available with these decommissioned playgrounds to change the lives of children little or no access to such play. Since Emmanuel Foundation began we have had the privilege of installing over 60 playgrounds in developing countries around the world! In 2006 Gary received on behalf of Emmanuel Foundation a World Leisure Reward at the international conference in China for this innovation!

** For over thirty years there had been a service in Alberta, led by Lovyl Marion, called Alberta Development Relief Agency – Aid International SocietY (ADRA-ASI), which had gathered goods to send overseas to help with international relief and development efforts. In 2003 ADRA-ASI joined with Rotary’s Humanitarian Aid Warehouse Society (HAWS) to work together for this common goal. In 2010 both ADRA-ASI and HAWS approached Emmanuel Foundation to take over this important work which we have been privileged to do so since September of 2010.

Guiding Principles, Mission Statement & Core Values

Emmanuel Foundation's Guiding Principles

Sustainable Development: Our goal is to support projects that will help bring improvement and transformation that would be sustainable and have long lasting benefit to a community.

Community Initiative: We seek for initiatives to come from nationals and community leaders in order that there is increased ownership and community participation in each project.

Value of a Child: The welfare of children remains a primary motivation for our services. We believe that the life and potential of a child born in one place is just as valuable as that in another, no matter what the financial circumstances might be.

Green Stewardship: The realities of the needs that exist in much of the world and the amount of waste our society generates need to be reconciled. We seek to harness the surplus from our society to share from our abundance to serve our fellow man.


Emmanuel Foundation's Mission Statement

As Christ followers, we desire to demonstrate God’s love by sharing our resources to create hope for a better tomorrow for individuals, families and communities of developing countries in the areas of their physical, social and spiritual wellbeing.

Emmanuel Foundation's Core Values

Emmanuel Foundation was historically established as a society that was shaped and motivated by being ‘Christ followers’. What does that means to us?

It means that for us, faith in God specifically finds meaning through the life and person of Jesus Christ. God has revealed His [and our] nature and design through Jesus and informs us through His life much of our mission and purpose. This effects and shapes our values as a foundation in a number of ways:

Demonstrated Love: God revealed that He cares about us to the extent that through Jesus, He got involved in our lives to help. Thus, we use the term ‘Emmanuel’, which means ‘God with us’. This tangible expression of love takes us beyond a nebulous ‘we care about the children of the world’ to actually getting involved and demonstrating it in a concrete manner.

Respect: Jesus gave us an example of how to serve the poor and marginalized in a way that respected them and their culture. Therefore we want to communicate a message of respect – from the way we treat others to the quality of items we ship to how we implement community development projects. We want to be respectful of individuals, groups and cultures in everything we do.

Generosity: A core value of the life Jesus taught and demonstrated was that life was lived most fully when it gave freely. We and our children have received much, so out of gratefulness we want to be generous to others as well.

Serving: The posture of our society is informed by the posture of Jesus as a servant, “I did not come to be served but to serve…” This shapes our attitude as we go into communities. We do not want to serve our agendas or ourselves but to serve others.

Relationships: People are of highest value. As we bring the benefits of developmental play to children in need, we remember that more important than our projects and plans, we exist to help people. Our relationships with each other and the communities we serve are influenced by the teaching and actions of Jesus in the way we treat others.