In addition to core operating funding provided by the partners, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System activities are funded by grants from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Great Lakes Guardians Community Fund.
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, beginning in 2007 with a grant to support development of the vision for the ecopark system (Cootes to Escarpment Park System Conservation and Land Management Strategy) and subsequent grants to support community engagement and development of a governance model, land securement strategy and communications plan. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is currently providing funding over the period 2014-2016 to support engagement with private landowners to foster ecological stewardship and conservation within the EcoPark system.
A non-profit organization, the Foundation operates independently from the government to coordinate and fund activities that bolster the richness of life in the Greenbelt. From supporting Niagara’s world-renowned viticulture, to promoting stewardship in agriculture, and restoring 4,700 acres of the most biologically rich wetlands in the country, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has funded and leveraged more than $43 million in innovative projects since 2006. Together with its grantees, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all Ontarians for today and tomorrow.
Ontario’s Greenbelt is almost 2 million acres of protected land. It extends as far north as Tobermory and stretches 325 kilometers from Rice Lake in Northumberland County to the Niagara River. The Greenbelt also wraps around the Greater Golden Horseshoe — the area that surrounds the western end of Lake Ontario. One of the fastest growing regions in North America, by 2031 the population of the Greater Golden Horseshoe is expected to increase to more than 11 million.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation has been an important supporter of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, beginning with a grant in 2011 to support development of a governance model, land securement strategy and communications plan and continuing with a recent grant to support development of comprehensive management plans for five core Heritage Lands areas of the EcoPark system.
One of the largest grantmakers in Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation is unique for its deployment of 330 volunteers to review and analyze more than 3,000 grant applications each year. To make great grants that help create vibrant and healthy communities, program staff rely on volunteers to bring their knowledge of local community needs and sectoral expertise to the grant review process. OTF awards approximately 1,500 grants each year to community-based not-for-profits and charitable organizations in the arts, recreation, environment and human and social services sectors. An agency of the Ontario government with an annual budget of over $100 million, OTF is always looking for ways to be a more effective grantmaker as well as a thought leader. In 2013, the Ontario Trillium Foundation celebrated thirty years of granting. The Foundation marked this important milestone with a reflection on its successes, challenges, and lessons learned over the past three decades.
The Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund provided a grant to the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System in 2014 to begin a project that engages members of our regional community in ecological stewardship. This is being accomplished through six hand-on community workshops and six community ecological stewardship events on partner-owned lands within the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System.
The Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund is administered by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and provides funding to support projects in and around the Great Lakes and their connecting channels and watersheds. The goals of the fund are to protect water quality for human and ecological health, improve wetlands, beaches and coastal areas, and protect habitats and species.
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is responsible for promoting clean and safe air, land, and water to ensure healthy communities, ecological protection and sustainable development for present and future generations of Ontarians.