The Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery in the Central Library was named by Linda and Mike Shaikh, local philanthropists. Their story, and why they chose to support the Library is shared below.
To appreciate Linda and Mike Shaikh’s commitment to philanthropy, one must know their journey as newcomers to Canada. Mike was born in Multan, Pakistan and was the eldest of four children. At age eleven, he worked in the family’s tannery business during the day and attended school at night. Realizing he could apply what he learned in the classroom to his family’s business, he pursued his studies with newfound enthusiasm and vigor. He completed his undergraduate degree in business at the University of Karachi while working full time in the family business.
Linda and Mike married in 1974, and relocated to Calgary so Mike could pursue his Chartered Accountant designation at the University of Calgary. They lived humbly, both working to put themselves through school and regularly sent money back to Mike’s family in Pakistan. Linda and Mike have always recognized the significant opportunities that have been afforded to them as citizens of Alberta and Canada, and feel privileged to be able to give back to community through their time, talent and treasure.
The Shaikh family has made significant long-term financial investments in health and education, including building the TRW Centre for the University of Calgary, funding significant research projects within Alberta Health Services, donating a bus to Renfrew Education and establishing a number of endowments, funds and bursaries. Linda and Mike are focused on improving the lives of marginalized populations, and have made substantial gifts to CUPS, the Discovery House, Carewest and continue to support various non-profit organizations. In 2015, the Shaikh’s announced a $1 million gift to the Calgary Public Library, which will establish the Shaikh Family Welcome Gallery at the New Central Library.
Linda is a Director on several boards, including Calgary Urban Projects, the Nickle Galleries, Canadians for Global Care, the City of Calgary Public Art Board, and is a Senator at the University of Calgary. She has worked in the Oncology Ward of the Alberta’s Children’s Hospital, as an artist-in-residence for the One World Child Resource Centre, and as a co-facilitator in the Nurturing Parent Program at Calgary Urban Projects. Linda has also assisted Inn from the Cold, the Calgary Drop-In Centre, and a multitude of other community organizations.
Mike is a Campaign Chair for the Calgary Public Library Foundation’s Add In Campaign, Director of the Alberta’s Children’s Hospital, and Chair of Education Matters. His previous leadership roles included serving as Chair of Calgary Police Commission, a board member of University of Calgary and Canadian Association of Police Boards, and was a founding Board member of the Police Foundation and the President of Kiwanis Club of Calgary.
Linda and Mike Shaikh are caring, loyal and generous of spirit. They are passionate proponents of education, social responsibility, safe communities and giving back to the community, and encourage their family, friends and colleagues to do so as well. They are truly guided by the principles shared by Mike’s father—earn, learn, and return—and our city and community are incredibly improved as a result.