JANUARY 2, 2021 –
Growing with Care, Helping with Heart
Small Change Fund is about people: helpful experts whose experience, knowledge and connections make campaigns and programs soar. We support community leaders to achieve solutions to important environmental and Indigenous issues.
We are different than most charities. We don’t just raise money for ourselves, we raise money for our partners. We don’t just run our own programs, we collaborate with diverse partners to provide innovative programming across the country. And we deliberately share our knowledge and experience with Canada’s change-makers. The last two years have seen some big changes for us. We brought on veteran leaders Burkhard Mausberg and Franz Hartmann. They have transformed our organization by bringing in new programs and partners and they expanded the services we offer to our partners.
We now help Canadians with community engagement, communications, strategy and funding to set the table for successful campaigns. And we still use our award-winning crowdfunding platform to raise the funds needed to achieve real tangible impacts. Using the power of storytelling, we help our partners share their stories to engage a wide audience of supporters. At last count, we have some 30 active partners and campaigns.
Another change is that we now run our own programs – campaigns, research and communications. We express our leadership on areas important to Canadians and ‘walk the talk’ to advance a progressive agenda for the country. From tackling flooding with natural infrastructure and greening the Film and TV industry, to the carbon tax and the Green Future Fund, we accomplish change with targeted programs.
That happens only because Small Change Fund believes in people. We believe people know how to fix the problems in their communities, their cities and their country. We believe people can make change without access to long studies, thick reports, and big money.
People helping each other by crowdsourcing big change. Let us show you how.
Over the last two years, we had the good fortune of working with incredible partners.
A Greener Future: Cleaning up the Shores
Each year is a clean-up adventure along the shores of Lake Ontario. Starting in Niagara-on-the-Lake and moving east towards Kingston, A Greener Future completes 100 litter cleanups along the way.
BurlingtonGreen: Keeping the City Green
BurlingtonGreen restores natural habitat, plants thousands of trees, grows and donates more than 7,800 pounds of organic produce to local food banks and diverts tonnes of waste from landfill in Burlington, Ontario.
Fairtriad: Rescue unused items and turn them into a charitable donation
FairTriad allows consumers and donors to trade items such as electronics, furniture, clothing and home appliances, in return for a charitable cash donation towards a registered Canadian charity. This way, buying or selling used items can still protect the environment.
The Narwhal: Forests for our Future
Forestry has always been one of Canada’s biggest industries and has led to an unsurpassable amount of logging, which has resulted in the devastating loss of trees and forests. Telling stories and identifying solutions helps preserve Canadian forests.
The following articles were produced in partnership with Small Change Fund:
- Thousands of B.C.’s endangered whitebark pine logged on private land
- The battle for Haida Gwaii’s cedars
- ‘Deliberate extinction’: extensive clear-cuts, gas pipeline approved in endangered caribou habitat
- Canada’s forgotten rainforest
- ‘We’re not against forestry’: Peachland mayor asks for pause on logging in watershed
- ‘You can’t drink money’: Kootenay communities Fight logging to protect their drinking water
- The government agency at the centre of B.C.’s old-growth logging showdown
- B.C. allows logging, mining companies to cut down thousands of endangered trees
- Muddied waters: how clearcut logging is driving a water crisis in B.C.’s interior
- Old-growth logging leaves black bears without dens: biologist
Wellington Water Watchers: Water for Life, Not Profit
Wellington Water Watchers is dedicated to the protection, restoration, and conservation of drinking water in Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario. Its volunteers are committed to the protection of local water and to educating the public about threats to our life blood.
Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition: Growing the Greenbelt to Get Permanent Protection for Ontario’s Sensitive Habitats
Expanding Ontario’s Greenbelt to Simcoe County allows nature and farming to thrive and helps mitigate the climate crisis. A bigger Greenbelt is a game changer and part of a natural solution to climate change.
A Greener Future: The Butt Blitz 2020
Each year volunteers pick up hundreds of thousands of cigarette butts and send them to be recycled. We’re helping with The Butt Blitz, which educates Canadians about the impacts of cigarette butt litter and provides solutions that will help protect the environment from its effects.
No Place for a Quarry
Citizens in Bancroft, Ontario are concerned about a proposed quarry on the border of Town. The quarry will cause irreversible damage to people, animals and environment. We are helping them to oppose the construction of this quarry.
Kingscross Ratepayers Association: Save the Oak Ridges Moraine in King Township
If ever there was land on the Oak Ridges Moraine in need of protection from development, this is it. The land has steep slopes, a forest area filled with trees, frog species and wetlands. Yet a large development is threatening this ecological paradise which the community feels should become a conservation reserve.
Halton Environment Network: Environmental Documentaries
As part of the Oakville Festival of Film and Art in Ontario, a special screening of three award-winning environmental documentaries was organized.
Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance: The Genetics of a Species at Risk, the Brook Floater
Working hard to enhance and maintain the Petitcodiac and Memramcook Rivers in New Brunswick, the Alliance promotes watershed awareness, identifies environmental problems, and protects watersheds.
Iron & Earth: A Fossil Free Future: Re-training Oil & Gas Workers to Install Renewable Energy
Iron & Earth re-trains out-of-work oil industry electricians in Alberta to install solar panels, creating sustainable income for energy workers and accelerating the shift to a clean energy economy.
Protect Our Waterways: No Nuclear Dump
Burying nuclear waste poses a risk to water security, agricultural heritage and well-being of the community. South Bruce has a thriving year-round agricultural sector with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario and should not be home to a nuclear dump.
Sustainable Media Production Canada: ACTION! Greening Ontario’s Film & Television Industry
The Ontario film, television and digital media production industry needs to enter the 20th century and implement sustainable production practices. Waste and climate change are the two biggest opportunities to reduce that industry’s environmental footprint.
TTCRiders: Transit Champions
Working with many grassroots organizations will help engage and lead thousands of Torontonians to become “Transit Champions” and advocate for better, more affordable transit for everyone.
Ecology Ottawa: Stopping Sprawl
Inefficient sprawl costs the environment, increases taxes and intensifies climate change. Ecology Ottawa provides residents with the information and tools they need to understand these issues and promote leadership for better development within the City of Ottawa.
Environment Hamilton: Clean Air
Environment Hamilton is a community-focused, Ontario non-profit working towards a city that is a carbon-neutral community with local food sources, sustainable transportation and clean air.
Friends of the Rouge: Saving the Rouge
The Friends involve thousands of school and community volunteers in the protection and restoration of native forest, wetlands and meadows in the Rouge River Watershed and National Park in Ontario.
Tottenham Water Group: Clean Water Now! Reducing Trihalomethanes in Drinking Water
For 11 years, the levels of trihalomethanes, many of them carcinogenic, were above the maximum acceptable limit in Tottenham’s drinking water. The citizens deserve clean drinking water now!
Iron & Earth: Climate Career Portal
The Climate Career Portal is a web-based platform to support fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers in finding and securing employment in climate mitigation/adaptation careers.
EOS Eco-Energy: Climate Change Education in Chignecto
The narrow and low lying strip of land that connects New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is known as the Chignecto Region. It is especially vulnerable to climate change. EOS EcoEnergy envisions a resilient Chignecto Region in the face of climate change by conducting educational campaigns and finding community-based solutions.
Fighting Climate Change by Protecting Temagami
Protecting old growth Temagami has been a long struggle and the Province of Ontario still wants to allow the cutting of old growth forest. Instead, the Province should adapt its forestry practices to account for the climate crisis, and deploy our vast public woodlands to stabilize the Earth’s climate.
Grow Ontario Together: Protecting the Great Lakes
This project looks at how to make the Great Lakes relevant again to Canadians. How do we increase the profile of the Great Lakes? How do we get Canadians to appreciate, value and celebrate the Great Lakes? And how do we get Canadians, especially younger ones, engaged to take action to protect them?
Sustainable Eastern Ontario: Eastern Ontario sustainability map
Sustainable Eastern Ontario provides capacity building and sustainability support across the region to many organizations, neighbourhood groups and nonprofits. A special project is in the works to develop a mapping tool for sustainability and environmental initiatives across Eastern Ontario.
Lung Association of NB: Resilient Recovery: toward an inclusive, equitable and resilient Canada
The New Brunswick Lung Association and the Canadian Network for Human Health and the Environment are launching a public education strategy and national advocacy campaign to increase resiliency in all Canadians, enabling us to live better lives, and contribute to our country.
St. Mary’s River Association: No Open Pit Excavation
The St. Mary’s River Association embarked on an ambitious watershed restoration plan and management initiative in 2008, “Healthy River, Vibrant Communities.” They are still at it, restoring the ecological integrity of the St. Mary’s River in Nova Scotia to bring benefits to the natural environment and to the people that live and work there.
Nation Prospère Acadie: Acadian Forest Protection Project
Nation Prospère Acadie develops and implements durable solutions to enable Atlantic Canada’s Acadian People to thrive in the 21st century. They are working hard to protect the Avon (Pisiguit) River.
The Green Future Fund
COVID-19 has shown that communities working together can accomplish incredible things as we collectively keep our country safe and care for each other. For every sad story, we hear many more about how kind, cooperative and responsible Canadians are towards each other.
Canada’s small environmental groups, the backbone of the country’s green movement, have cared about their communities for years. They work tirelessly with scarce dollars and countless volunteers to create a green future to avoid the dangers of the climate crisis and pollution. Their local actions remediate natural areas, fight climate change, reduce waste and educate the public.
They’ve been shining examples of what caring and cooperation can do.
Canada’s local environmental groups are the environmental movement’s frontline heroes, working the grassroots of every community with tiny budgets and unlimited passion. When COVID-19 appeared, they were hit much harder than larger environmental groups due to their size, access to funds and lack of in-house resources. They’ve had to rethink how they work and how they raise money for their work. And they needed help.
The Green Future Fund is our response, with donations, information and strategies to keep them going, so they can help make Canada’s recovery a green one.
Our communities need protection from flooding. That’s why in 2019, we teamed up with the Niagara Community Foundation, the Toronto Foundation, and the Durham Community Foundation to deliver a new innovative project designed to reduce the harm caused by flooding along Western Lake Ontario.
Part of a larger Great Lakes wide project called Great Lakes One Water, our focus is on increasing the use of natural infrastructure, like trees, green roofs and rain gardens. That’s because natural infrastructure is an excellent way to keep water out of our basements and streets, and to clean it before it enters Lake Ontario. We’re working with community stakeholders across the Greater Golden Horseshoe to find innovative ways of installing natural infrastructure.
What is Natural Infrastructure?
Natural infrastructure is the natural vegetative systems and green “technologies” that effectively replicate the functions of ecosystems (such as storm water storage and filtration) and collectively provide many economic, environmental and social benefits. These include rain gardens, trees, bioswales, engineered wetlands, storm water ponds, green roofs, green walls, parks, gardens and grassed areas. It also includes technologies like porous pavements, rain barrels and cisterns, which can be part of natural infrastructure support systems.
Climate Justice Organizing Hub
Started recently under the leadership of Tom Liacas and his team, we are creating an Organizing Hub that supports social movements and citizen mobilization around the climate crisis. It includes sharing knowledge, coaching and mentorship, a community of practice for organizers and a wider sector learning hub. For more information, click here.
Thank you to the thousands of Canadians who donate to the Small Change Fund – big or small. Without you, we couldn’t do our work.
Also a big thank you to the Foundations who have supported us:
Catherine Donnelly Foundation
Edmonton Community Foundation
F.K. Morrow Foundation
H. Brigham Foundation
McCall MacBain Foundation
Niagara Community Foundation
North Family Foundation
Sisters of St. Joseph Congregation in Canada
The McLean Foundation
Trottier Family Foundation
Over the last two years, many great people helped make the Small Change Fund a success. They did so as volunteers, Board members, consultants and staff. Thank you to:
Ameera Seiyad – Ameera joined Small Change Fund in September 2020 as our Community Manager. She recently graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in Environment & Business and worked previously in the Environment & Energy Division at the City of Toronto. Ameera loves soccer, hiking and hanging out with her friends.
Bezawit Debele – A digital marketing professional, Bezawit has a genuine curiosity in the people around her and a strong desire to solve problems. She helped with research, communications and administration.
Brooklyn McAllister – With a long-lived passion for all things IT and a background in building custom computer systems, Brooklyn graduated from the Computer Programmer Analyst program at Durham College. She developed a strong interest in mobile and web application development, particularly in how to use it to better her community and the world. Hailing from Oshawa, where she lives with her wife and children, she’s proud to offer new perspectives and skills to help Small Change Fund crowdsource big change.
Burkhard Mausberg – Burkhard is the Chief Executive Officer at the Fund and a leader in Ontario’s environmental and food sector. He has worked for non-profit groups for three decades: he led the Greenbelt Foundation, directed the programs of the Ivey Foundation and was CEO of Environmental Defence and Great Lakes United. In 2017 he published the critically acclaimed book Ontario’s Greenbelt: Protecting and Cultivating a Great Ontario Treasure (Barlow Books). Burkhard studied environmental science at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto, where he also taught for eight years.
Caedmon Wilson – Caedmon keeps our books. He worked in finance management for several small to mid-size NGOs. He believes that transparent, effective financial management allows organizations to build trust and streamline operations, demystifying the accounting process. His proudest successes include a three year stint in Tanzania on a maternal health initiative. He loves giving back to his community one budget at a time.
David Love – David is on our Board. After 51 years, David continues to raise money, mostly encouraging precious donors to leave a legacy for nature. For 30 of those years he worked for WWF, and also worked for over 15 other environmental organizations in Canada. He now works with his daughter’s company, The Agents of Good, where he is affectionately called “The Godfather of Good.”
Franz Hartmann – Franz is our Chief Engagement Officer and has been leading innovative environmental collaborations for over 30 years. For 12 years, he was the Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance where he succeeded in getting key environmental policies adopted at City Hall and establishing deep connections with many nonenvironmental community partners. Franz also chaired the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance from 2014 to 2019 and was the Environmental Advisor to City Councillor Jack Layton. He has a PhD in Political Science from York University.
Joyce Chau – Joyce serves on our Board and is an award-winning senior leader in the non-profit environmental sector. Her proven success is based on a deep work ethic, strategic thinking, creativity and a collaborative approach.
Ketheesakumaran Navaratnam – Keth is a grassroots leader and works to empower communities in Scarborough. He coordinates our project with TTCRiders, organizing people to increase access to public transit. He has a Bachelor’s degree in public policy and a Master’s degree from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He likes eating sushi with hot sauce, listening to Tamil melodies and enjoys laughing, hiking and looking at the sky and greeneries.
Mary McGrath – Mary is the boss – the Chair of the Board. Her passion is building and nurturing effective social-profit organizations to create sustainable communities. She is the Co-Founder of the Small Change Fund and currently is the Executive Director of Green Learning.
Meghan Clout – Meghan is an aquatic biologist and has a passion for water, making her perfect for working on the Water for Life project. Shortly after graduation, she started her career in the ENGO world working in communications before finding a home with Wellington Water Watchers in 2018. Meghan grew up in Northern Ontario, on the shore of Lake Nipissing. She enjoys backcountry camping, hiking, kayaking, canoeing and is an avid rock climber.
Mike Balkwill – Mike Balkwill has worked as a community and campaign organizer for more than forty years. He is a force of nature and currently works as Campaign Director with Wellington Water Watchers, running the Water for Life project with the Small Change Fund. Mike supports a number of grassroots groups in Ontario in their efforts to protect water and is also the co-author of the Campaign Planning Handbook which can be downloaded here.
Naomi Bénéteau Goldberg – Naomi works with our Climate Justice Mobilisation Hub. She gained a passion for social change work through her involvement as a grassroots organizer in the climate justice movement. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Mount Allison University, and a graduate diploma in journalism from Concordia University. She is based in Montreal, Québec.
Naomi Yossef – Naomi was a Research Assistant. She researched and analysed projects to determine why certain ones are more effective than others. She also kept everything super organized.
Renee Ball – Renee was a research assistant and is a young professional working in environmental advocacy and sustainability. She helped with programming and flood awareness research.
Sarah Margolius – Sarah ran our greening the film and TV industry project. She is a results-oriented, creative Project Management Leader, passionate about working with teams that punch above their weight and make heroes of their stakeholders.
Tom Liacas – Tom is a network advocacy specialist with over 20 years’ experience in innovation management and now leads the Climate Justice Mobilisation Hub. Though he cut his teeth as Campaigns Manager with global counter-culture agents at Adbusters, Tom also spent time in the private sector, where he co-founded a publicly traded digital agency, gained unique experience leading online stakeholder dialogue projects and designed patented evaluation systems. Now back to his principal passion, Tom works to transfer best practices in advocacy innovation to progressive campaigners. As a researcher and analyst, he has released several reports on emerging campaign practices and publishes frequently in the The Stanford Social Innovation Review and with Mobilisation Lab.
Uyara Prado – Uyara helped us with financial management. Hailing from Brazil, her first work in Canada was with the Small Change Fund. She is now an Accounting Manager with a large private firm.