There’s been a lot discussion about how positive change in society might be incited as we recover from the pandemic, and nearly a million dollars helps buy a lot of positive change. On Wednesday, it was announced that Guelph’s 10C Shared Space, along with the Pillar Nonprofit Network in London, are receiving $899,921 from the Federal government to work towards sustainable development goals (SDG).
“This new funding program aims to support projects that build greater awareness of SDGs, foster new partnerships such as this one with Pillar, and to increase impact and advanced research to further Canada’s implementation of the 2030 agenda through the SDG Cities project,” said Guelph MP Lloud Longfield. “10C and Pillar will provide training and mentorship to workshops, guidance, and coaching to advance our SDG goals right here in Canada.”
“We want to show people in our city that money only matters if we can also take care of our planet, and give everybody an opportunity to be their best self,” said Luis Patricio, the SDG Cities Co-Lead with Pillar.
According to Paticio the process involves reaching out to groups in the community wanting to improve life, figuring out how they can work together, and learning how other communities across Canada can learn from those examples.
“I want to help organizations and companies here in London, as well as our partners in Guelph, to figured out how to use all this information that we’re collecting, so they can thrive as a business or as an organization while at the same time caring for people and planet,” Patricio explained.
The United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs has 17 goals to promote sustainable development that covers topics like the elimination of poverty and hunger, increased health and education, the reduction of inequalities, the promotion of sustainable cities, and the protection of the environment and animal life on land and sea.
“Probably five or six SDGs usually apply to most organizations, if not all 17,” added Julia Grady, the executive director of 10C. “One of the first things we’ll probably do is work with the Chamber of Commerce and look at taking their directory of businesses, and apply the SDGs across them to give Guelph a good view to where the momentum is.”
The funding comes from Employment and Social Development Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Program, a multi-year grant that’s meant to help two mid-size cities work together to increase the impact of the work towards SDG goals, and to create new opportunities to expand that work.
“Making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals is a shared responsibility across all levels of society,” said Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen in a statement. “By fostering partnerships through Moving Forward Together – Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy and the SDG Funding Program, the Government of Canada is supporting local action on the SDGs and delivering better outcomes for all Canadians.”
“A lot of it is research with the Chamber and different organizations, but very tangibly there will be hands on work with 72 businesses and not-for-profits over the three-year timeframe split between London and Guelph,” Grady explained. “There will be immersed, hands-on educational opportunities and then development of the SDG strategies with support from people in the team. The project helps build the people on the team and the activities that they’ll be implementing.”
Grady said that the public will start to see activities from the programs being developed through this grant sometime in September, while incubator activities with local businesses and non-profits, both here and in London, could begin sometime in early 2021. 10C and Pillar submitted their application for the funds in 2019.
“Both 10C Shared Space and Pillar are committed to the type of collaboration that will see greater awareness of the SDGs so that the work has a lasting local impact for people in need,” added London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos in a statement.