Creating eco-conscious citizens

Photo: Wildlife Haven, 2018. Tiffany Lui, Haven’s Animal Care Coordinator, with Avro. Avro is a Swainson’s Hawk that was admitted to Wildlife Haven in 2011. She was hit by a car, which led to the loss of her right eye and reduced vision in her left. Since she can’t be released, she is now a Wildlife Haven Ambassador.


While Environment and Animal Welfare grants are relatively recent in The Foundation’s history, they have made a lasting impact on the vitality of our community.

One of The Foundation’s first grants in the area of Environment was made in 1974 to the Wildlife Foundation of Manitoba. The forerunner of FortWhyte Alive, Wildlife Foundation would go on to establish the Fort Whyte Nature Centre to educate the public about wildlife and conservation. A $21,500 grant from The Winnipeg Foundation built a sheltered environment for ducks and geese during the winter.

In 1981, the Wildlife Foundation began developing a new building on a larger acreage, which would become the Fort Whyte Centre for Environmental Education. The Winnipeg Foundation supported the construction of the new building, which opened in 1983, with $150,000 over a three-year period. The Foundation also contributed to development ($25,000 in 1984) and capital costs ($30,000 in 1987) for a freshwater aquarium.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, The Foundation continued to support environmental organizations, although these grants were often allocated under the Family and Community or Social Work and Education granting areas.

With the support of a $30,300 grant from The Foundation, the Recycling Council of Manitoba (today known as Green Action Centre) produced a research report in 1989 for its Symposium on Recycling, which was held the next year and informed Manitoba’s provincial recycling strategy. In 1996, The Foundation would grant $27,500 to the organization, which rebranded that year to Resource Conservation Manitoba, to support recycling and composting programs.

A $15,000 grant to the Manitoba Wildlife Rehabilitation Organization in 1994 helped establish a veterinary clinic for injured and orphaned wildlife at a University of Manitoba research station south of Winnipeg. Over the years, the organization – which became known as Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre in 2003 – would provide care for an increasing number of wildlife, growing to the point where it launched a capital campaign for a permanent home. In 2018, The Foundation provided a grant to support the interior finishings of its new Wildlife Hospital and Education Centre, situated on an 18-acre property in Île des Chênes.

In 1995, The Foundation granted $7,300 to the Manitoba Naturalists Society (today known as Nature Manitoba) to continue its Natural Areas Inventory in Winnipeg – the first of its kind in our city. The inventory would go on to be hosted on its own website, making the data and maps publicly accessible. This research has helped advocate for the protection of some of Winnipeg’s natural areas. Today, some of the information continues to be accessible from an interactive map on the City of Winnipeg’s website.

In 1999, for its signature Millennium project, The Foundation supported Fort Whyte Centre’s Reaching New Horizons capital campaign with a $250,000 grant towards its Alloway Reception Centre, which opened in the summer of 2000. An additional $45,000 grant provided opportunities for 2,400 inner-city youth to visit Fort Whyte Centre, providing free busing and field trips.

Two $6,864 grants, in 2000 and 2001, to the Manitoba Eco-Network supported development of the EcoCentre, a shared meeting space and resource centre for environmental non-profits and groups. In 2003, The Foundation granted $30,000 to Resource Conservation Manitoba toward renovations to new office space in the Mountain Equipment Co-op building, which would become the new home of the EcoCentre, housing it along with five other environmental organizations.

The first year Environment grants were made in their own category was 2001. Among those seven grants was a $10,000 grant to Resource Conservation Manitoba for a pilot program to encourage kids to walk, bike or wheel to school. The program remains active with Green Action Centre under its current name, Active and Safe Routes to School.

In 2010, The Foundation launched Enviro Grants, a program which granted up to $5,000 to help charitable organizations move toward sustainability by conserving water and energy and reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The program distributed a total of $247,101 to 47 Winnipeg charities from its inception to May 2013.

As the 2010s drew to a close, climate change became an urgent issue worldwide. In 2019, The Foundation partnered with Green Action Centre to convene a Vital Conversation on the risks and realities of climate change and the effects it has on human health, with discussions and insights on how people can become more aware and take action.

“The environment is the most pressing issue of our time. We are eager to get more Winnipeggers composting and taking other actions to address climate change.”

Tracy Hucul (pictured left), Green Action Centre Executive Director, quoted in 2017
Two woman standing by composter, one is holding a compost bucket on rooftop garden overlooking downtown Winnipeg
Green Action Centre, 2017.
Pictured left to right: Executive Director Tracy Hucul and Kelly Kuryk discuss the importance of composting on Green Action Centre’s rooftop patio garden.

How would you like to start?

Give Now Start Your Own Fund Contact Us