RBC awards $2.3 million in funding to protect water in cities and towns around the globe
TORONTO, June 14, 2013 /CNW/ - RBC today announced the recipients of the 2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grants, totalling more than $2.3 million in funding for water protection and preservation programs. Awarded on the fourth annual RBC Blue Water Day, the grants support 123 organizations spanning seven countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Jamaica and Turks and Caicos Islands.
"Water is the lifeblood of our planet and vital for our social and economic wellbeing," said Gord Nixon, president and CEO, RBC. "Since the RBC Blue Water Project was established in 2007, we have committed more than $38 million in grants to some 650 organizations around the world working to protect our most precious natural resource, including the grants we're announcing today. We are honoured to support the important efforts of this year's grant recipients, whose projects reflect our new focus on urban water issues."
In December 2012, the RBC Blue Water Project announced a shift in focus to address a significant, emerging issue that is relevant to the majority of RBC employees and clients - protecting and preserving water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. The 2013-2014 Leadership and Community Action Grants are funding programs that improve urban water quality and efficient use, enhance storm water management and protect and restore urban waterways.
"By 2050, three quarters of the world's population will live in cities," explained Alexandra Cousteau, RBC Blue Water Project Ambassador and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. "With more people, our urban water resources will become even more strained than they are today. The 2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grant recipients are working to solve some of the most critical water issues facing our growing communities and helping to ensure we have the clean water we need for the future."
About RBC Blue Water Project
The RBC Blue Water Project is a historic, wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world's most precious natural resource: fresh water. Since 2007, RBC has pledged over $38 million to more than 650 charitable organizations worldwide that protect water, including the grants announced today, with an additional $7.8 million pledged to universities for water programs. In 2013-2014, the RBC Blue Water Project will focus on supporting initiatives that help protect water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. For further information, visit www.rbc.com/bluewater.
About RBC's Commitment to Community and Sustainability
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We employ approximately 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 44 other countries. RBC is recognized among the world's financial, social and environmental leaders and is listed on the 2012 - 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the DJSI North American Index, the Jantzi Social Index and the FTSE4Good Index. RBC is one of Canada's Greenest Employers, one of Canada's 50 Most Socially Responsible Corporations and among the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World. Learn more at www.rbc.com/community-sustainability.
RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2012, we contributed more than $95 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $64 million and $31 million in sponsorships.
2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grants
Note: Financial references throughout are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated.
NATIONAL - CANADA
- Alliance for Water Efficiency: A $60,000 grant will help the Canadian Plumber Water Sustainability Training Pilot Project offer training to plumbers in major Canadian markets. Plumbers can help improve water efficiency in homes and businesses, but their influence is often neglected. This pilot project aims to equip plumbers to take a more active role in water management.
- Green Communities Foundation: A grant of $50,000 will help the foundation remove unnecessary paving and replace it with greenspace, which acts as a filter and sponge for polluted stormwater runoff. Program partners will receive hands-on training with a depaving expert then return to their communities to depave high profile sites.
- Northern Environmental Action Team: A $50,000 grant will help provide practical storm and melt water management recommendations to northern communities. This project will also recommend improvements to northern building codes to encourage the installation of green infrastructure.
- Tides Canada Foundation: A $40,000 grant will enable a series of water leader workshops to encourage collaboration around urban water issues, while bridging the gap between community-based and larger scale water efforts. As a result of the workshops, Tides Canada will produce a research paper to weave together the best practices determined by the water leaders.
- Safe Drinking Water Foundation: A grant of $10,430 will provide Safe Drinking Water Foundation Education Kits to teachers located in urban centres across Canada. Due to budget cuts, more than 2,900 teachers are waiting for education kits to be sent to their schools.
- Capital Regional District: A $75,000 grant will inform and engage residents, youth and businesses about urban water quality, watershed health and climate change issues through workshops, focus groups and social media.
- City of Vancouver: A $50,000 grant will help the city evaluate the role of rain barrels in reducing stormwater flow by installing rainbarrels in two Vancouver communities and monitoring the amount of rainwater collected and used.
- Regional District Okanagan Similkameen: A $15,000 grant will help this program educate more residents in communities with serious water issues through water conservation workshops and events. Residents who have already used the program showed a reduction in irrigation use, increased mulch use and more low flow fixtures/appliances changeovers.
- Local organizations: $80,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by these fifteen local organizations:
Comox Valley Land Trust
- Georgia Strait Alliance
- Fraser River Discovery Centre Society
- Osoyoos Desert Society
- Mainstreams Environmental Society
- Squamish River Watershed Society
- Langley Environmental Partners Society
- British Columbia Lake Stewardship Society
- Seymour Salmonid Society
- Powell River Salmon Society
- Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition
- Peninsula Streams Society
- Cowichan Community Land Trust Society (Cowichan Land Trust)
- Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society
- Swan Lake Christmas Hill Sanctuary
- Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology: A $50,000 grant will support a unique water education program (Youth Wavemakers) that informs, educates and celebrates the impact youth have on local and global water issues.
- City of Camrose: A $50,000 grant will help the city develop a water conservation program, including a public awareness and education campaign.
- Green Calgary: A $45,000 grant will support an education program about community water quality and supply issues, including water conservation, rain harvesting to reduce storm water run-off and decreasing the use of potable water for landscaping and toilet flushing.
- Helen Schuler Nature Centre (City of Lethbridge): A $40,000 grant will help fund renovations to the Nature Centre. The expansion will feature displays on rainwater harvesting, and show how permeable surfaces enable storm water absorption.
- Local organizations: $50,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by these seven local organizations:
The Miistakis Institute
- City of Dawson Creek
- Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley
- City of Spruce Grove
- Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society (Southern Alberta Chapter)
- Red Deer River Watershed Alliance Society
- Water Matters Society of Alberta
- Meewasin Valley Authority: A $30,000 grant will enable the Nature by Design Project to showcase innovative design and conservation efforts to protect the northeast swale in Saskatoon. The project includes restoration work, an awareness-raising campaign and innovative design highlights such as low-impact stormwater management and recreational facilities.
- Local organizations: $13,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by the Regina Catholic School Division and the City of Moose Jaw
- International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD): A grant of $50,000 will help advance an innovative project to capture phosphorus and prevent it from entering urban waterways. IISD will collaborate with key partners to harvest cattail and other plant species at numerous sites in Winnipeg. IISD will then compress the harvested plant material into a form that can be burned to produce bioenergy.
- Lake Winnipeg Foundation: A grant of $30,000 will support an action plan to reduce the amount of phosphorus released into Lake Winnipeg. The project will include collaboration with municipalities and educational outreach in six cities across the Lake Winnipeg basin.
- Local organizations: $33,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by these four local organizations:
Ecolé Crane Grounds Transportation
- West Souris River Conservation District
- University of Winnipeg - Department of Geography
- Brandon Riverbanks
- Ottawa Riverkeeper: A $100,000 grant will support the creation of a web-based map that tracks the frequency and size of sewage spills, a common occurrence in the Ottawa River. The project will increase the frequency of water testing at beaches and popular recreation areas and will report the results using the Waterkeeper Swim Guide.
- Trout Unlimited Canada: A $100,000 grant will help improve water quality in the Bronte Creek Watershed through community engagement. Project leaders will work with community stakeholders to link residents to their water resources, and provide advice to residents wishing to undertake small restoration projects at home.
- Toronto Zoo: A grant of $50,000 will help the Great Lakes Program teach participants about at-risk aquatic species and how conservation is linked to the health of the Great Lakes. The program is free, interactive and curriculum-based. New initiatives for 2013 include expanding the program into new regions and rehabilitating the fishway in the Morningside Tributary on Toronto Zoo property.
- Earth Rangers Foundation: A $40,000 grant will enable further greening of the Earth Rangers Centre (ERC) in Woodbridge, Canada's highest rated LEED platinum building. The grant will be used to install additional meters to the existing system to allow better monitoring of green roofs, white roofs, rain water capture and reuse systems, storm water mitigation strategies and the waste water treatment plant.
- Long Point Region Conservation Authority: A $40,000 grant will support the installation of low-impact development demonstration sites (LID) to prove their feasibility and effectiveness. The LID sites will be a model on how to create green space, reuse water and incorporate stormwater controls into new or existing developments.
- Nickel District Conservation Authority: A $35,000 grant will support the development of low impact development (LID) demonstration sites to manage stormwater in commercial areas in the Ramsey Lake watershed. Stormwater is a key contributor to water quality issues and LID technologies, combined with re-vegetation and reforestation efforts, will decrease these pollutant levels.
- The Town of Fort Erie: A $35,000 grant will help the town develop a water quality monitoring program. The town has 33 municipal drains, which drain approximately two-thirds of the town's stormwater into Lake Erie and the Niagara River.
- Local organizations: $151,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by these 26 local organizations:
Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury
- St. Clair Region Conservation Foundation
- Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
- Rouge Valley Foundation
- Lower Trent Conservation
- The Ecologos Institute
- The Regional Municipality of Peel
- Mississippi Valley Conservation
- Durham Children's Water Festival
- Raisin Region Conservation Authority
- City of Hamilton (Hamilton Children's Water Festival)
- The Museum of Ideas and Transcending Objects
- Oxford County Trails Council
- St. Lawrence River Institute
- Environment Hamilton Incorporated
- Centre for Sustainable Watersheds
- Ladies of the Lake
- Town of Orangeville
- Upper Thames River Conservation Authority
- Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority
- Friends of Ecological and Environmental Learning
- Conservation Halton Foundation
- Essex Region Conservation Authority
- Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority
- Brant Waterways Foundation
- Sierra Club Canada Foundation
- L'association des scouts du Canada: A $25,000 grant will enable water conservation activities as part of Moot Canada 2013, a gathering of 5,000 Scouts between the ages of 18-25 from 100 countries. Partnering with ONE DROP, the activities will help the Scouts educate the public about storm sewer management and water pollution.
- Local organizations: $43,000 in Community Action Grants will be shared by these nine local organizations:
Amis des jardins de métis
- Nature-Action Québec
Groupe d'éducation et d'écosurveillance de l'eau
- Bassin Versant Saint-Maurice
Groupe de recherché appliqué en macro-écologie
- Action Saint-François
- Fondation en environnement et développement durable
- Fondation de l'eau Rivière du Nord
- Comité zone d'intervention prioritaire ZIP du Haut St-Laurent
- Ecology Action Centre: A $70,000 grant will help the centre pilot a study to see how low-impact design methods reduce stormwater runoff, control pollutant loading and enhance groundwater infiltration.
- City of Bathurst: A $10,000 grant will help the city provide grants to low-income homeowners for decommissioning unused wells, repairing/replacing leaking septic systems or removing/replacing old metal home heating oil tanks.
- Local organizations: $26,350 in Community Action Grants will be shared by these four local organizations:
Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation
- JW MacLeod Fleming Tower School
- City of Charlottetown Water & Sewer Utility
- Sackville Rivers Association
CANADA / U.S.
- Gulf of Maine Association: A $100,000 grant will help the Gulf of Maine Council, in partnership with organizations in five locations around the Gulf of Maine watershed, restore urban freshwater resources at sites in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine and New Hampshire.
- Waterkeeper Alliance: A grant of $50,000 will fund a Waterkeeper Swim Guide, an innovative tool that uses social media to connect people to their waterways. The Swim Guide consolidates real-time beach water quality data, converts it into an easy-to-understand format and delivers it free to anyone with a computer or mobile device. RBC has supported the development of Waterkeeper Swim Guides in several other regions with past RBC Blue Water Project grants.
- TreePeople: A $100,000 USD grant will enable a partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to create the city's first stormwater capture master plan, ultimately increasing community-based urban watershed management through stormwater capture and urban forestry.
- The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota: A $100,000 USD grant will fund a feasibility study on providing water funds to North American communities. First developed in Latin America, water funds create predictable funding for conservation investments, such as green infrastructure. Analysis increasingly shows that green infrastructure can reduce the need for hard infrastructure, reducing the cost burden on tax and ratepayers.
- Local organizations: $100,000 USD in Community Action Grants will be shared by these 19 local organizations:
National Audubon Society, Audubon Arizona
- Ducks Unlimited Bennington County Chapter
- Conservation Lands Foundation
- Massachusetts Watershed Coalition Inc
- Alliance for the Great Lakes
- Friends of Casco Bay
- Civic Works Inc.
- Parks & People Foundation
- Montana Audubon
- Reeves-Reed Arboretum
- Save The River Inc.
- Scenic Hudson Inc.
- Otsego Land Trust Inc.
- Rensselaer Land Trust Inc.
- Gundalow Company
- Chicago Zoological Society
- Friends of Ballona Wetlands
- Buzzards Bay Coalition
- Renfrew Institute for Cultural and Environmental Studies Inc.
- London Wildlife Trust: A $100,000 grant will help volunteers manage a 2-km stretch along the Regent's Canal, a waterway running through one of the biggest urban redevelopment zones in Europe. The Wildlife on your Waterways will deliver water quality and habitat improvements to improve green infrastructure in the Kings Cross area.
- The Rivers Trust: A $35,000 grant will support a water saving project focused on the River Ver, highlighting the links between levels of domestic water consumption and water levels in the river. St. Albans is in one of the driest areas of the U.K., yet has one of the highest levels of per capita water consumption.
- U.K. Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (Turks and Caicos Islands): A $55,000 grant will help the Turks and Caicos National Museum demonstrate the use of harvested rainwater for its gardens, toilets and cleaning. The islands don't receive a lot of rain and rather than harvesting rainwater, many households and businesses use city and bottled water. The Museum will use the demonstration site to educate residents and visitors about reducing their consumption of expensive city water.
- BREDS Treasure Beach Foundation (Jamaica): A $45,000 grant will help the BREDS Treasure Beach Sports Park and Community Centre improve water storage and reduce water loss by switching to nighttime irrigation of the grounds, reducing water loss by at least 50 per cent. A large pond on the grounds will be refurbished to collect and store water harvested from the land and buildings.
- Peter Cullen Trust (Australia): A $40,000 grant will help the Science to Policy Leadership Program bring together early to mid-career scientists with policy makers for an experiential leadership course. Participants learn about bridging science and policy and, in the process, learn how their own skills can help them influence decision-making for sustainable water management.
- National Book Development Council of Singapore (Singapore): A $25,000 donation will help the Splash! Into Savings project educate youth about the importance of water. The project involves the creation of Asian children's picture books with water-themed stories and a web-based program called the "Sustainability Challenge" for teachers to provide training and experiential learning.
- Landcare Australia Limited (Australia): A grant of $10,000 will engage community volunteers in a range of urban water conservation activities that will protect and restore urban waterways and improve urban water quality around Sydney catchments.
- Local organization: A $5,000 Community Action Grant will be given to Jamaica Environment Trust.