The future is looking bright and ‘green’ for both people and nature along the South Georgian Bay Escarpment. Larry & Barbara Hall, founding philanthropists of the new South Georgian Bay Innovation Fund (‘SGBIF’), and the Escarpment Corridor Alliance (‘ECA”), have come together in a new partnership.
The SGBIF has pledged $75,000 over three years to focus on three areas that align with the ECA’s strategic priorities. First is development of a youth environmental stewardship program. Second, is developing the concept of a ‘nature-based conservation economy vision’. Third is support for the planning and launch of an annual Nature & Conservation Economy Summit in Winter 2024.
“Our two organizations have found some wonderful common ground and shared vision which resulted in this three-year, $75,000 funding partnership. Early in our Fund’s launch in December 2022, Barb and I with our SGBIF team concluded that opportunities building new programs on the uniqueness of South Georgian Bay’s natural environment should be the focus of our initial grants. Fortunately, we discovered an organization that shared our vision and commitment to protecting and enhancing the experience of, and access to Nature, for those of us who live, work, and play, or visit South Georgian Bay. Stay tuned as we, together, help build a greener and enriched Nature experience here in South Georgian Bay.” – Larry Hall, South Georgian Bay Innovation Fund
“We are so excited and grateful to welcome the SGBIF as one of our founding Leadership Funding Partners. This philanthropic investment will be critical in executing our mission priorities. With the support of donors like the SGBIF and The Hall’s, we are confident that the ECA will be a leader in improving and sustaining the natural, economic and social environments in the regional South Georgian Bay community.” -Jarvis Strong, ECA Executive Director
About the South Georgian Bay Innovation Fund
The South Georgian Bay Innovation fund was established by Ravenna residents Larry & Barb Hall in 2022 with a $1.1 million fund held at Toronto Foundation. The fund supports organizations led by social entrepreneurs who are developing innovative approaches to issues across important pillars within the not-for-profit sector: social, economic, environmental and cultural. Its first two areas of focus are: increasing conservation and accessibility to maximize the healing power of nature; integration of nature and prevention strategies in youth mental health.
About the Projects
Youth Environmental Stewardship Program
The project will begin with a regional community scan and assessment of environmental and outdoor education, recreation and wellness programs for youth.
Research has demonstrated that nature immersion plays a critical role in youth mental health and wellbeing. If it is determined that there is a program gap and need for innovative new offerings, the SGBIF and ECA will conduct a feasibility study in the second year of this funding partnership for introducing new outdoor wellness related programs in partnership with local businesses, government and other local nonprofits.
Nature Based Conservation Economy Vision
Create a vision that would make South Georgian Bay a world class nature & wellness home and destination by developing and gathering support for an innovative model for sustainable, joint environmental and economic development.
Nature & Conservation Economy Summit
The Summit will bring together regional, provincial, federal and world environmental, conservation, environmental and wellness experts for a collaborative discussion around the concept of a nature-based conservation economy, the importance of nature for wellness and mental health, and the importance of eco-corridors in our region.