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Region hosting Cambridge info session on Upstream Fund

$1.5 million is available to grassroots organizations, groups and individuals working on projects that strive to create a more equitable community
People joining hands. Photo: D Magazine

The Region of Waterloo wants to get the word out about the $1.5 million available this year to grassroots organizations, groups and individuals working on projects that strive to create a more equitable community.

The region is hosting a collaborative information session on its Upstream Fund at the Islamic Centre of Cambridge on May 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The fund supports and prioritizes upstream initiatives led by and serving Indigenous, Black, racialized and other communities facing discrimination and systemic barriers. Funded projects are designed to improve wellbeing by removing barriers and providing support that allows people to achieve their full potential.

The funding model also removes barriers for those who have historically, and continue to be, excluded from funding opportunities.

“The Upstream Fund is about removing red tape and de-colonizing the way we work with community,” says Fauzia Baig, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Region of Waterloo. “We put decision-making and power into the hands of the community because they know best what they need to address root causes of harm.”

The fund uses a community-based funding model and focuses on initiatives that allow people to achieve their full potential. Achieving full potential includes social and economic factors that that influence people's health, like education, income, environment, food security, housing and employment.

“We know that Waterloo Region is home to many leaders and organizations who work every day to create a more equitable community for all” said Regional Chair Karen Redman. “By investing in their work, we will be able to create a better community for everyone.”

A Community Change Committee comprised of community members will allocate the funding based on priorities identified by community.

Last year, 41 recipients received funding to continue or expand on work that focuses on healing, building confidence and skills, and developing a sense of belonging among children, youth and adults facing discrimination.

Other collaborative events that encourage groups and individuals to apply to the fund will be held throughout the region over the next few weeks.

More information is available on the Upstream Fund's webpage.

The deadline for applications is May 15.