For the Plains Cree, "wêyôtan" is the time of wealth that comes from generosity. Giving has been a foundation for community prosperity across this land for centuries, and project partners Newo and SPICE are seeking to pioneer new financing models that embody these cultures of abundance. Through a pilot project with Edmonton’s Bissell Centre, they will develop business case scenarios for energy-efficiency retrofits and micro/community-generation solar installations that provide Edmonton investors with a mechanism to support projects that stimulate the local economy, create jobs for vulnerable workers, and provide clean-energy accessibility for all.
With the completed financing tool, they will begin connecting socially motivated investors with clean-energy projects on buildings owned by non-profits, faith communities, and First Nations. The organizations immediately save on their energy bills and, as they pay us back, we reinvest into more projects. These projects renew barriered workers' access to training and meaningful employment in Canada's emerging green economy, while retrofits reduce greenhouse emissions and operating budgets to help increase the social impact organizations have in our communities. More than an investment approach, their hope is that this project will foster a next-generation economy of sharing and interdependence.