Calgary, August 25, 2022 —Alberta Ecotrust Foundation, a charitable foundation providing funds for over thirty years to projects that protect and conserve Alberta ecosystems and watersheds, and meaningfully address climate change, announces the new 2022 grant recipients of its Climate Innovation Grant Program.
“The community is really stepping up to help the municipalities achieve their ambitious climate goals,’ confirms program director Mike Mellross. An interesting mix of charities and nonprofits will receive over $920,000 in grants for 11 initiatives in Calgary and Edmonton that collectively contribute to reducing urban GHG emissions. “We are excited by the diversity of approaches,” he adds.
“Our program focus is on buildings, mobility and decarbonization so in this round we see a spectrum of projects from youth cycling infrastructure, research on the electrification of school bus fleets, deep energy retrofit demos, the exploration of demand side management energy solutions, plus providing natural or “nature-based” solutions to climate change with the planting of 5,000 native trees across 10 small forests throughout the city.”
“These 11 ambitious climate action initiatives in Edmonton and Calgary are important solutions. The Government of Canada is pleased to support Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) in delivering support for community-led climate innovation. These projects are well aligned with Canada’s goal of building a prosperous and sustainable future for Albertans and all Canadians.” - The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources
Several of these projects are also focused on equity and the inclusion of youth, BIPOC, and women’s voices, which create and improve opportunities to strengthen communities. Climate solutions also solve social and economic problems, often due to the nature of the partnerships and aligned interests of the networks and coalitions of businesses, government agencies, and community groups.
“Youth en Route is thrilled to be selected for CIF funding - it will allow us to take our programming to 10 Calgary Schools, empowering youths to make sustainable and healthy transportation choices to get to school. Too many schools lack basic infrastructure - including secure bike racks - and students lack the knowledge and confidence to do something as simple as riding a bike to school. Our data shows that only 11 percent of high school students ride or walk to school. We hope to spur a sea change in culture at schools, where active travel becomes the norm for students'' - Laura Shutiak, Executive Director, Youth En Route
Most importantly, these projects have the collective potential to reduce or avoid 835,763 tonnes of CO2 emissions cumulatively over the next 20 years. This is the equivalent of taking nearly 13,000 cars off the road annually once the projects have scaled up.
ACORN Institute Canada: Engaging Tenants in Apartment Retrofits Resource Guide, will develop a resource guide that will include a made-in-Alberta tenant engagement model, researched proposals for policy reforms to enable more apartment retrofits, and a strategic organization plan to enable Alberta ACORN to assist in large-scale apartment retrofits.
Environmental Careers Organization of Canada (ECO Canada): Improving Accessibility to Emission Reductions for BIPOC and/or Women owned SMEs in Calgary, will work with BIPOC and/or women-owned SMEs in Calgary’s retail sector to identify their main emission sources and advise them on the available GHG reduction, government programs and funding opportunities.
Youth En Route: Calgary High School Active Transport Project, will increase the active transportation use by high school students in Calgary through improved infrastructure, fostering student leadership and skills development, and creating safer biking routes for schools.
Calgary Climate Hub: Miyawaki Forest, will create a community-driven model for forestation on ten sites, focusing on the Miyawaki Method - a small-footprint, native forest with a wide variety of native seedlings that grow with minimal intervention.
The Pollution Probe Foundation: Alberta Electric School Bus Deployment Project, will involve data collection and creating a best practice framework and business case to support the electrification of Southland’s school bus fleet.
Ever Active Schools: Common Ground - Mobilizing School Jurisdictions as Active Transportation Leaders, will work with a school board to implement policy and practice recommendations to increase engagement for active transportation at the jurisdictional level.
Iron and Earth: Net-Zero Pathways Program, will result in a capacity-building plan for Edmonton that will analyze the community’s existing talent base and skills gap and develop an implementation strategy for planned or existing regional net zero projects.
Pembina Institute: Supporting women-led small to medium-sized enterprises transition to zero-emission fleets, will pilot a capacity-building project to help organizations that own or run fleets, including small and medium enterprises, make the switch to electric vehicles and produce a “transportation roadmap,” that Edmonton can use to encourage electrification.
Polish Heritage Society of Edmonton: Creating a Carbon Emission Free Commercial Kitchen in the new Centre Polonia, will enable the creation of an all-electric, carbon-neutral, commercial kitchen within the new Centre Polonia. Learnings about constructing a zero carbon emission community building (including a kitchen) will be shared, showcasing the menu and equipment needed to implement a carbon-neutral kitchen.
QUEST Canada: ReCover Edmonton, will demonstrate a whole-building approach to deep energy retrofits (DERs), by conducting a feasibility study on a Multi-Unit Residential Building and build capacity for DERs through knowledge sharing.
Alberta Energy Efficiency Association: Priming the Pump for DSM, will develop a recommended approach to Demand Side Management (DSM) in Alberta that considers how DSM activities can complement and support other energy savings and emission reduction efforts in the province and the organizations working on them.
“The Alberta Ecotrust Climate Innovation Fund continues to play a critical role in addressing the climate emergencies declared in both Calgary and Edmonton. Our partnerships with both Cities ensure our grants, programs and impact investments are aligned with their climate plans and goals. We need to continue growing this Fund, though,” says CEO Pat Letizia. “In this grant cycle alone, we received 45 expressions of interest with over $3.4M in requests for funding some substantial projects. We are looking for more philanthropists and investors to join us on this climate solutions pathway. The opportunities for real impact are significant.”
Alberta Ecotrust Foundation is grateful for additional funding from the Edmonton Community Foundation and the City of Edmonton, whose contributions increased the granting capacity in Edmonton by $200,000 in 2022. The multi-year commitments from these organizations will continue to provide funding for 2023. All the projects directly link to policy directions in the City of Calgary and the City of Edmonton’s climate action plans.
About the Climate Innovation Fund
Alberta Ecotrust Foundation is a founding member of the Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) network, a partnership between seven local centres across Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Funded by the Government of Canada, LC3 is part of a national investment in municipal climate action to accelerate urban climate solutions and meet Canada’s 2030 and 2050 carbon reduction targets.
As an LC3 Centre, Alberta Ecotrust received a $43.4 million endowment from the federal government to create the Climate Innovation Fund. The Fund provides programming in Calgary and Edmonton, taking on a nimble, accelerator role, complementing and advancing the leadership work undertaken by the municipalities. For more information, visit albertaecotrust.com.
For media inquiries:
Maureen Ezeodumegwu, Communications Manager, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation
403.209.2245 x 205