Building on the success of its inaugural year, the Rotary Environmental Innovators Fund (REIF) is poised to make an even more profound impact in 2024. Partners Rotary Clubs of Peterborough/Kawartha and Cleantech Commons at Trent University have announced that the second year of funding applications are officially open, offering increased support for the region’s environmental innovators.

A groundbreaking initiative and the first of its kind in Canada, REIF has garnered significant attention and support from Rotary Clubs and individuals across Ontario. This year, five local environmental innovators will receive funding of up to $3,000 to bring their vision to life and help shape the environmental landscape of our community.

Graham Wilkins, chair of the REIF Committee, conveyed his enthusiasm for the Fund’s second year, stating, “REIF surpassed our expectations in its first year, and we are thrilled to build on that success in 2024. The overwhelming support from the community and the interest it has generated across Ontario truly underscores the commitment to environmental innovation.”

Graham Wilkins, Left, and Martin Yuill, right, celebrate with the Finalists of the inaugural REIF in 2022. (Credit: Cleantech Commons.)

The REIF was created by a collection of active Rotarians, citizens, and businesses – the environmental champions group – to support and advance the passion of local environmental innovators – environmentalists working on some of the top environmental concerns facing us today and impacting us locally. The goal is to promote environmental awareness, sustainability, and remediation by supporting new environmental initiatives in the Peterborough area.

Individuals actively working on environmental innovations are encouraged to submit their applications for funding on the REIF website. The deadline for applications is March 6, 2024.

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Martin Yuill, executive director of Cleantech Commons, emphasizes the opportunities REIF unlocks for local entrepreneurs: “Our partnership with REIF is all about forging pathways for skilled youth, talented graduates, and the innovators and entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow to start and grow their own ventures, creating employment  opportunities, nurturing positive societal impact, and contributing to the environmental sector in the Peterborough region.”

This year’s awards event is slated for April 19, 2024, at the scenic Camp Kawartha. The event is a powerful platform for the community to witness and actively participate in acknowledging and financially supporting the region’s top five environmental innovators. It is a testament to the collaborative efforts of individuals, corporations, and visionaries who understand the imperative of investing in a sustainable future.

One of the distinctive features of REIF is its commitment to nurturing the next generation of environmental leaders. This year, REIF will provide $225 in funding to the Environmental section winners of the Peterborough Junior Science Fair.

Individuals and corporations eager to support REIF can pledge their commitment through the REIF website and will receive immediate tax receipts. Support is recognized in three tiers: $100 – Individual Champion, $200 – Corporate Champion, and $500+ – Visionary Champion.

Visit rotaryenvironmentalchampions.ca to learn more.

Featured image credit: Unsplash/Andreas Balg

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