Inspiring collaborations between environmental groups and Indigenous Nations in southern Alberta set to receive a large portion of $500K+ in local grants



Calgary, October 26, 2022Alberta Ecotrust Foundation, a prominent and longstanding charitable foundation that provides funding for water protection, land use and climate change projects across Alberta, announces the 2022 grant recipients of its Environmental Impact Grant Program

“A really interesting range of charitable and nonprofit organizations, watershed councils and Indigenous Nations will receive $547,500 in grants in response to a request for proposals to address several key environmental challenges we identified through extensive stakeholder consultations earlier this year”, said Pat Letizia, CEO of Alberta Ecotrust Foundation.  “We are looking for projects and programs that advance conservation, biodiversity, climate and circular economy solutions across the province. Something new for us is to also include a requirement for applicants to identify other tangible community co- benefits like new jobs or equity and inclusion.”

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation received 77 expressions of interest this grant cycle with requests for funding over $3.7M. The Foundations’s Partner-based review committee found it very challenging to choose among the numerous strong and impactful projects proposed. “Choosing one project over another is not always easy, especially when they are all innovative initiatives that will benefit our communities across Alberta. Alberta Ecotrust’s Environmental Grant Programs have been supporting community-based initiatives for more than 30 years and we look forward to supporting organizations undertaking projects that protect our landscapes, build climate resilient communities, and advance a circular economy in our next intake in 2023.” - Adrianne Lovric, Grant Review Committee member and Geographic Communications Manager for The Dow Chemical Company.

“We are excited to have been selected in this grant stream. The proceeds from this grant will provide the Kainai Iinnii Rematriation Project with much needed funding that will allow us to purchase equipment and materials necessary for developing critical fencing infrastructure for our next project pasture. This funding will also ensure the success and longevity of the project, our ecological research, and cultural community outreach events. The Alberta Ecotrust Foundation provides a fine example of how providing grant funding for essential community-based projects can have positive and lasting cascading impacts in our communities and environment, and we are grateful to have this support.” - Justin Bruised Head, Kainai Iinnii Rematriation Project Coordinator

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation would like to thank its supporters, corporate and visionary partners, and volunteers, for the continued support and helping turn positive intentions into meaningful actions to preserve our ecosystems.

The 2022 grant recipients include:

  • Goodwill Industries of Alberta: Goodwill Industries of Alberta accepts donations to sell at their thrift stores and often receive donations of damaged or undesirable items that cannot be sold.  Through their Goodwill@Work program, Goodwill will establish a Cleaning Cloth and Repair for Good program at their impact centre in Calgary. Both programs operate to upcycle or recycle items, therefore diverting this material from landfill. In 2021, 6700 kg of textiles and 9500 kg of furniture were diverted from the landfill through the Cleaning Cloth and Repair for Good programs in Edmonton. This grant will help Goodwill bring this successful program to Calgary.

  • Blood Tribe Land Management: The Kainai Iinnii Rematriation Project (KIRP) is an ecological and cultural restoration project supporting the reintroduction of plains bison to their ancestral native grasslands on Kainai (Blood Tribe), restoring native grassland ecosystems and traditional Blackfoot culture and way of life. The Iinnii (Blackfoot for "bison") provide food security, independence, and cultural revival and the grasslands provide carbon storage and safeguard biodiversity, while also providing plants and animals essential to cultural practices, traditional stories and ceremonies, and medicines for members of Kainai which will vastly improve mental and community health.

  • Oldman Watershed Council: The community-led Building Resilience and Knowledge Sharing Project is a partnership between the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC), Blood Tribe Land Management, Piikani Nation Land Management, and Cows and Fish. The initiative is focused on restorative action to support cultural revival, boost resilience to climate change, improve access to quality water, and enhance biodiversity. The project will restore key grassland and riparian ecosystems and will build the capacity of partners to braid Niitsitapi knowledge and western science together. 

  • Nature Conservancy of Canada: NCC will offer technical, financial, and logistical support to secure Indigenous Protected Conservation Areas (IPCAs) in Alberta. The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) have developed a land securement and stewardship strategy in consultation with their Citizens and are exploring opportunities. NCC will share data and logistical capacity in support of MNA’s conservation plans, accelerating the rate of conservation. NCC is eager to support the formation of IPCA’s and other Indigenous-led conservation projects. To meet this challenge NCC will also undertake the necessary fundamental changes to their operations to ensure projects and activities are aligned with reconciliation and build out their capacity to do this work.

  • Frog Lake First Nations: Frog Lake First Nations (FLFNs) and its partners will work collaboratively with the community, including knowledge keepers, Elders, youth, women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ members, to develop a Food Sovereignty Strategy.  Frog Lake First Nations members have indicated that food sovereignty is an important undercurrent to address as FLFNs seeks to re-invent its economy as one that is circular and sustainable for generations to come. Deliberate and coordinated efforts will be made to revitalize FLFNs’ traditional food economy, ramp up local sustainable food production, remediate environmental deficiencies and more.

  • Stettler & District Adult Learning Council: Launched by Rural Routes to Climate Solutions (a Stettler Learning Centre initiative) in 2021, the Siksikaitsitapi Agriculture Project (SAP) is an equity, diversity and inclusion project connecting Siksikaitsitapi agricultural producers and traditional harvesters with the resources, traditional knowledge and peers to engage with and implement culturally-appropriate agricultural climate solutions. The Siksikaitsitapi (‘Blackfoot Confederacy’ in the Blackfoot language) consists of Kainai, Piikani and Siksika First Nations. This second year of the project will organize and facilitate community convening (e.g. meetings, workshops, field days) for Siksikaitsitapi members to learn about agricultural climate solutions and discuss and explore where they intersect with traditional knowledge, food security and community health.  

  • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society: CPAWS Northern and Southern Alberta chapters will leverage momentum and attention on Alberta’s Eastern slopes built by their previous work on coal and parks to increase organizational and community capacity to holistically address the multiple environmental threats facing this key ecosystem. The Eastern Slopes are an environmentally and socially vital landscape with overlapping importance for water, biodiversity, carbon storage, cultural and recreational values, yet these values also face multiple overlapping threats such as forestry and increasing recreation pressures. This project will protect this key ecosystem through a multi-pronged approach using policy expertise and engagement, empowerment of community groups to get involved in land use decisions, and advance understanding around the practice of landscape scale conservation.

  • Keeper’s of the Water Society: Keepers of the Water have created educational resources for schools and communities that can serve as teaching tools on the importance of biodiversity in Northern watersheds. Their Community Based Water Monitoring Program - Multimedia Interactive Map Project will expand their strategic communications capacity, assert Indigenous sovereignty, and bridge the data vacuum created by Canadian policymakers. KOW’s work begins with grassroots water monitoring of the Athabasca River, heavily impacted by coal, pulp and paper industries and the oil sands region extraction projects.  This is an ambitious campaign initiated in May 2022 which will look to the future to continue data collection. The project will advance knowledge of impacts to sacred watersheds to uphold commitments to elevate decolonized traditional Indigenous water governance which can be accomplished by emphasizing Indigenous land-based knowledge, language and culture.

  • Circular Innovation Council: The Circular Innovation Council will develop a solution to recover the value of organics and rescue consumable foods from the IC&I sector.  Through food rescue and food waste processing, this pilot will consolidate and connect food and food waste collections between neighbouring businesses and institutions and also develop an affordable cost-shared collective financial model. Outcomes and guidance from the pilot will be shared, replicated, and scaled across Alberta and Canada.  The solution will rescue nutritious food to community agencies addressing food insecurity, reduce food waste and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with it, produce valuable compost, and reduce organic diversion costs for businesses and institutions.

For more information contact

Maureen Ezeodumegwu, Communications Manager, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation.