Dan Johnstone, also known as Can Man Dan, is an award-winning activist, philanthropist, and community organizer from Edmonton, Alberta. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the Can Man Dan Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to alleviate community stress and support vulnerable populations.
Dan was born in Edmonton in 1987 (during the notorious "Black Friday" tornado) and has spent over twenty years living and growing up in Ward Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi, most notably in Blue Quill, and currently resides in Chappelle.
Dan was raised in a single-parent, low-income household, and for years, his family struggled to make ends meet. To help his mother with overdue bills and rent, Dan began working at the age of 13 and would deliver newspapers around his neighbourhood in the morning, while also working for a local fast food outlet after school. During this difficult time, Dan, his mother, and brother relied on various social services and programs to keep the family afloat. Dan graduated high school in 2006 and attended Grant MacEwan University for one year, after which he left to care for his mother who had fallen ill. He entered the labour market, working mainly commercial and residential construction jobs, embracing the blue-collar lifestyle of hard work and determination.
Dan's philanthropy work started in June, 2011, when he decided to go door-to-door collecting food and donations as a way of giving back to the city that took care of his family through social programs and the generosity of everyday people. Since then, Dan has raised millions in resources and funding to help struggling Albertans without keeping a single dollar for himself. Under Dan's leadership and visionary thinking, what started off as a small community project has escalated into a far-reaching movement and a multi-million dollar initiative.
Raised by a single parent in a low-income household left an indelible impression on Dan; he continues to stay dedicated to supporting those in need and addressing various systemic issues that plague Edmonton and beyond.