By Sean Delaney
The City of Toronto is now accepting applications for its PollinateTO Grants and Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions program to support local communities in building stronger ecosystems and taking climate action.
PollinateTO Grants of up to $5,000 are available to support community-led initiatives that result in the creation or expansion of a pollinator habitat on public and private lands in Toronto. A priority will be placed on funding projects in Toronto’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.
Projects eligible for funding include those that create new pollinator habitats in green spaces, such as schoolyards and parks, and those that expand existing gardens with pollinator-friendly plants. Projects to create pollinator pathways (multiple gardens on a residential street) are also eligible for funding. Projects must be visible to the public and educate and/or engage the community in some way.
Community groups, not-for-profit organizations, student groups, parent councils, Indigenous groups and other resident-led groups are encouraged to apply.
Since 2019, the PollinateTO Grant program has supported 108 community-led projects that have resulted in more than 300 pollinator gardens (about 22,000 square metres) across Toronto, including 30 projects in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and 45 projects on school grounds.
The grants are a component of the City’s Pollinator Protection Strategy, adopted by City council in 2018 to support the more than 360 species of bees and more than 100 species of butterflies and other pollinators found in Toronto. Pollinators support healthy and resilient ecosystems that help clean the air, sequester carbon, stabilize soil, absorb storm water and protect from extreme weather. Many species are in decline due to habitat loss, climate change and other stressors.
Applications will be accepted until Thursday, October 27.
More information is available on the PollinateTO Grants webpage.
The City is also inviting applications for residents to join its next cohort of Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions. The program trains 20 to 25 Toronto residents each year to initiate climate action projects in their communities, in support of the City’s TransformTO Net Zero climate action strategy and net zero by 2040 target.
Participants will receive training, a toolkit and other supports to help them inspire, motivate, and engage residents in community-focused climate action projects. Participants will serve a one-year term and receive a $500 honorarium.
Priority will be given to applications from community leaders and residents from communities experiencing social, economic and other barriers, including people of colour, newcomers, LGBTQ2S+ persons, women, Indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities.
The deadline to apply is October 16.
More information is available on the City’s Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions webpage.