Our Fourth JustChange Grantee (drumroll please) … Ottawa Sustainability Tour!

Our Fourth JustChange Grantee (drumroll please) … Ottawa Sustainability Tour!

What does sustainability mean?
What does it look like on the ground?

Showcasing sustainability in Ottawa is the focus of this round’s grant winner. JustChange is excited to award our $1000 grant to the Ottawa Sustainability Tour.

Launching September 14th, the tour is a self-guided journey between locations that each address one key aspect of sustainability. Ten diverse sites in Ottawa have been selected based on their unique approach. Participants are invited to take the tour by different means of transportation, including a designated bike route.

Jim Birtch, the leader of the project, breaks it down like this: “Sustainability can seem intimidating but it’s something we can all help accomplish without waiting for action from above. We want to motivate people by showing off what Ottawa has done in the past and what we’re doing right now.”

The JustChange grant is a much-needed boost and will be used to produce eye-catching signage for each location. These bilingual signs will deepen visitors’ understanding of the sites. As Jim puts it, “the signs are a tangible recognition of what citizens and organizations are doing to address this important issue.”

The tour is geared towards those of all ages and means, residents and tourists alike. Jim wants to get the attention of policymakers as well. He is aiming to have the signs displayed at City Hall during the week leading up to launch, and there are plans for an online and printed guidebook. The idea comes from the Ottawa Biosphere Eco-City Initiative in partnership with the Otesha Project and Tucker House. It has been powered by a dedicated group of volunteers and supporters, among which JustChange is now proud to be included.

Stay tuned for updates on this exciting initiative. The September 14th launch will feature a special guided tour and sustainability-themed events at each location. Jim also hopes to find a partner to help develop a mobile app to reach even more people. If you want to learn more about the tour check out their website or get in touch with Jim directly at: james.i.birtch@gmail.com .

And the grant goes to …

And the grant goes to …

Every now and then, out of nowhere, life will smack you in the face with a good dose of self-realization.

It wasn’t until late Friday night, January the 18th, that eleven of us came to the realization that we had, at that very moment, just created a fully-functional grant-making association, out of nothing but our own pockets. The whole night was a humbling, yet exciting occasion. Humbled by the twenty-two applications we received; excited by the positive change that each application strived to achieve.

Although still in our pilot phase, our first round of grants has shown us that a space exists in Ottawa for an organization like JustChange to fill, and throughout the next coming months, we hope to explore how to grow to fill it completely. I suppose in a sense, this has really been a small step towards JustChange’s own path of self-realization.

After hours of painstaking discussion, sweat, and anticipation, we have decided to award our first grant to Bailey Reid for her work with Sisters Achieving Excellence.

Bailey started Sisters Achieving Excellence (SAE) when she was twenty-four years old in an attempt to provide at-risk women with literacy skills, job skills, and most importantly, leadership skills. “It’s the combination of these skills,” she states, “that move us forward as students, as women, and as a community.” For two hours every week, volunteers and youth aged 16 – 35 learn together with the support of a program coordinator on literacy, vocational, and leadership skills.

Despite partnerships with well-established community organizations in the city (Elizabeth Fry Society, Tewegan Transition House, and the Vesta Women’s Recovery Program), Bailey is plagued with the typical funding barrier of simply being a new program. Thus, access to seed funding has been her greatest challenge.

Extending traditional employment training by including leadership skills is a fascinating idea, and the JustChange grant will go towards materials and support for the volunteers. We hope that this small grant will help to further the social mission that Bailey has begun to carve out.

Good luck Bailey!


Read and the JustChange Team

December/January grant

December/January grant

A big thank-you to all those that applied for our first grant.  The deadline for submission has now passed. We were absolutely floored by the dramatic response to our Call for Ideas.  Obviously Ottawa is teaming with good projects just waiting for a little help.

The Just Change board is now reviewing the applications and will be contacting those that applied in the near future.  Needless to say we are very excited to finally hand out our first cheque.

Stay tuned as our grant stream will open again in February.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email, Facebook, or twitter for more info.