Newsletter: January 2024

Newsletter: January 2024

JANUARY 31, 2024 –

A Message from our President

Happy New Year! From all of us at Small Change Fund, we wish you all the best for 2024.

This year is an important one. The climate crisis is accelerating, biodiversity loss is increasing, Indigenous rights continue to be violated and our political discourse is as divided as ever.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that we work with good people and organizations who are here to fight for the planet, its people and their communities. And win. Despite the bad news, Small Change Fund and our partners have succeeded in many battles. Last year we won the Greenbelt back, defeated a bid for off-shore oil and gas drilling near Nova Scotia, stopped sprawl developments, saved old growth forest in B.C., helped Indigenous communities with their battles for their lands and waters, and more.

We simply don’t give up. With our 120 partners across Canada, our drive is relentless and we are adding skills and capabilities to help our partners to victory.

So this year, Small Change Fund is making some big changes. We will completely overhaul our digital tools – our crowdfunding platform, our donor relations tools and our communications engines. The goal is to serve our partners, and our donors, even better and more efficiently. We are increasing training, including in legacy and social media, ramping up government relations skills and customizing community engagement.

These improvements have real costs attached. But they are necessary because every dollar we invest increases our ability to help win. And that’s what we’re here for. Bring
your change here.

– Burkhard



Welcome, Sophia!

We are pleased to welcome Sophia Young who is working on our Get on the Bus project in Edmonton. Sophia began advocating for accessible public transit after facing transportation barriers in her youth. As Sophia explains, these barriers “rob youth of opportunities, friendships and dreams.”

At 15, Sophia helped direct fourteen months of outreach, media coordination and lobbying for fare-free transit for youth thirteen and under in Regina. As a result, the City unanimously passed a motion that provided 36,000 children access to equitable transportation.

Sophia is pursuing a degree in environmental engineering and continues to advocate for fare-free transit for youth. With Get on the Bus, Sophia is building capacity and community for the free youth transit movement in Edmonton. As Sophia says, “fare-free transit creates empowerment and independence for youth.”

Partner Post: No More Noise Toronto

No More Noise Toronto is sounding the alarm on noise pollution and City Councillors are listening. The loud noises that drivers produce from illegally modified cars disturb many Torontonians during the day, keep us up at night and wake us up in the early morning. Noise pollution impacts everyone’s health and quality of life, as well as negatively affects the environment. Thanks to our partnership with Small Change Fund, we have reached new levels of awareness and engagement to create a Less Noisy Toronto!

– Ingrid Buday, No More Noise Toronto

Partners Ben Adelman, Rick Smith, Ziya Tong and Peter Raymont are bringing the microplastic crisis to the world’s attention.

Plastic People: The Hidden Crisis of Microplastics

Alongside partners at White Pine Productions, we held a private screening of the hotly anticipated documentary Plastic People on January 18th. The film follows executive producer and well-known author and environmentalist Rick Smith and Canadian newsmaker Ziya Tong as they cross the globe to expose the dangers of microplastics to human health. The film will premiere globally at the SXSW Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas and is an important tool for change leading up to the Global Plastics Treaty Negotiations in Ottawa this spring.

A Report from Our Travelling Campaign Master

A standing room only crowd filled the Hanover Legion Hall on a cold Friday night in January. We are working with the community to fight three applications for gravel mines at a scenic bend of the Saugeen River, just east of Durham, ON. A statement from Camp McGovern said the gravel applications may threaten the childrens’ camp’s future viability. The owner of the Saugeen Springs RV Park told the concerned crowd that hundreds of people come to their park every year, specifically to tube down that bend in the Saugeen.

This is a common theme in many communities –  ‘attractions’ mean more to the local economy than gravel ‘extraction’. However, current Ontario regulations give priority to gravel mining – regardless of the need.  Small Change Fund and our partners are working hard to make sure this is not a “done deal” and Save the Saugeen.

– Mike Balkwill, VP Campaigns and Engagement

Our Board Chair Mary McGrath sporting her emissions cap at the Pembina Gala.

A Hat Trick

There is still time to request your free emissions cap and show your support for a cap on Canada’s oil and gas sector emissions! We are providing a limited number of caps to Canadians who will wear them in public and share photos on social media with #EmissionsCap, #ClimateChange, #COP28, #cdnpoli. The first batch went quickly so don’t delay!

New Projects

  • Human/Nature Conference: to develop and host a conference that integrates climate-conscious design thinking into practice and reimagines our industries, institutions and ways of life in order to foster resilience in the face of climate change.
  • Connecting Canadians to Nature now has a crowdfunding page!

Small News Bites

  • Last month, we scored a major victory when federal Minister Wilkinson and Nova Scotia Minister Tory Rushton announced that they will not approve oil and gas drilling off the shores of Sable Island National Park Reserve. Small Change Fund is proud to have helped fund the government relations effort that led to this win.
  • Congratulations Dr. Britt Wray, Volunteer Director for Protecting and Promoting Youth Mental Health in the Climate Crisis, on receiving the award for Excellence in Science Communications at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
  • Our partners at Save Georgian Bay released a Press Release questioning why Ontario Minister Todd Smith is supporting an energy storage project that makes no economic (or environmental) sense.
  • The below graph, shared by Jason Thorne, General Manager, Planning and Economic Development with the City of Hamilton, showcases the results of our hard fought victory alongside Stop Sprawl HamOnt! Intensification means building less on farmland and natural spaces and results in more liveable cities for all.


Thank you so much to each and every one of our partners, donors and supporters!


The Small Change Fund Team

P.S. Your donation directly to Small Change Fund allows us to keep improving services and supports to help more grassroots projects succeed nationwide. Thank you for helping make change!