by Clifford Maynes, Executive Director
It’s 20 years ago this month since Green Communities Canada was founded as an extraordinary alliance of community organizations working to achieve practical environmental progress. It’s time to celebrate the accomplishments of our movement, andreflect on how far we’ve come over these past two decades.
There is much to celebrate. We’ve grown from an unincorporated network of community-based non-profit organizations, all based in Ontario, to a national non-profit
with members located in every region of the country.
GCC has grown from one part-time coordinator working out of his home office (that would be me) to a staff complement of a dozen or more. We are based at multiple locations: our Peterborough headquarters (centre of the known universe), an office in Ottawa, and home offices in Toronto and Greater Minden.
Annual consolidated revenues have grown from $35,000 in the first year to $2 million.
We’ve sprouted a charitable affiliate, Green Communities Foundation, and a for-profit subsidiary, Green Communities, Inc. (This complicated structure was actually foreseen by our lawyers when we first incorporated as the Green Communities Association in July 1996.)
Over the years, Green Communities Canada has provided impressive leadership. We’ve developed highly innovative and effective programs, and delivered them with our member organizations and partners.
For me as Executive Director, it has certainly been fascinating – if sometimes challenging – to develop the requisite level of knowledge about such a wide range of environmental issues and programs.
We designed and piloted the home energy retrofit incentive, which was adopted nationally, resulting in over 700,000 retrofits and annual savings of close to 30 million GJ. With our members we have delivered over 100,000 professional home energy audits. And we have also been leaders in ensuring effective low-income energy efficiency program design and delivery.
Under the Canada Walks banner, we’ve been leaders in promoting walking, walkable communities, and active school travel, helping communities to reverse decades of neglect and put pedestrians first.
In the decade post-Walkerton, we designed and delivered Ontario’s private well stewardship program, Well Aware.
And in the past few years we have grown a new award-winning program, RAIN Community Solutions, that is all about achieving stormwater volume reductions and protecting water quality by managing rain where it falls.
Despite adversity and some setbacks along the way, Green Communities Canada and our member organizations continue to plough forward, with remarkable persistence, energy, and inventiveness. I am proud to have been part of it.
Watch this space over the coming weeks for a series of postings on topics inspired by our 20th anniversary, including reflections on our member organizations, our programs, our people, and environmental progress. We’ll also look back on 20 years of this newsletter – the Green Communities News.