Split Rail Brewery gets federal development grant for $26,117

GORE BAY – Demonstrating an outstanding commitment to community-based social enterprise has paid off for Gore Bay’s Split Rail Brewing Company Inc. as they were named as one of nine social purpose organizations to receive funding through the Government of Canada’s Finance Fund. The grant flowed through a partnership between Community Foundation Grey Bruce (CFGB) in partnership with Georgian College.

“The Investment Readiness Program (IRP) recognizes that businesses can contribute to the social and environmental well-being of a community,” said Susan Snelling, chair of the Split Rail board. “We’re thrilled and grateful that the program recognized Split Rail as a business that exists to make a difference. The funding will allow us to develop our social purpose even further and pursue B corporation certification as a standard for our values-based business.”

B corporations are those businesses that act in ways that benefit society as a whole.

The $26,117 in funding is part of $341,381 in funding provided by the Government of Canada’s IRP, administered by Community Foundation Grey Bruce, and is aimed at supporting organizations that are working to create meaningful jobs, strengthen the charitable and nonprofit sector and address social challenges, including the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to Stewart Reid, CFGB executive director when contacted by The Expositor on Monday. “These organizations will be better prepared to receive investment, including through the Government of Canada’s Social Finance Fund.”

Mr. Stewart noted that the community engagement demonstrated by Split Rail and their focus on gender equity made them a good fit for the grant. He pointed to the company’s concentration on recyclable packaging and water use policies was also a factor in their successful bid for funding.

The funding is provided by the Government of Canada’s IRP, presented through Community Foundations of Canada. Georgian College plays an important role in the partnership as co-adjudicator and will help disburse the grant money to any organizations that are not registered charities.

“The pervasive and wide-ranging effects of the global pandemic has placed Canadian communities in crisis,” said Andrew Chunilall, CEO of Community Foundations of Canada, a national partner in the IRP, in a release. “Recovery efforts must be transformative to meet the test of an uncertain, and at the same time, hopeful and prosperous future. Philanthropy will play a critical role in this future as we consider new ways of deploying our capital and engaging communities. Our investments should aim to alleviate the systemic factors perpetuating inequality, with an eye to a sustainable and inclusive economy for all Canadians. Consequently, social entrepreneurs and impact investors form critical infrastructure to lead our recovery efforts and meet the urgency of the moment. Our work with the IRP is about meeting this moment.”

“CFGB received a high volume of applications for the highly competitive program,” noted Mr. Reid. 

“Social purpose organizations strengthen local economies while giving back and creating more resilient and sustainable communities,” he continued. “The IRP also creates and advances new earned revenue possibilities for charities and non-profits during this challenging time. For these reasons, the IRP has a key role to play in pandemic recovery and, also, in moving Canada towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. They promote prosperity while protecting people and our planet.”

Other recipients of the funding include $36,972 for Muskoka North Good Food Co-operative Inc. of Huntsville to scale-up regional agri-food sector, capacity build, market, educate, grow, and encourage community well-being; $88,977 to fund Fourth Pig Green and Natural Construction, Baysville, for a comprehensive viability study on creating a replicable model for accessible, environmentally healthy housing; $38,634 to fund Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre, Hanover, for a feasibility study and business plan to operate an ice cream truck as an employment training program for youth; $33,881 to fund Big Canoe Project, Meaford, to expand their big canoe tour and day camp enterprise; $25,000 funding The Dragonfly Collective, Sprucedale, to complete a business plan for a cafe and community hub and allow access to funding; $45,000 for Eat Local Grey Bruce, Owen Sound, to formalize policies and procedures, complete full financial assessments and perform strategic planning for sustainable growth; $18,000 to fund Golden Dawn Senior Citizens Home, Lion’s Head, for feasibility studies to develop a costed, sustainable plan to provide senior care and affordable housing on the Northern Bruce Peninsula; and $28,800 to fund CONTACT Community Services, Bradford West Gwillimbury, for a re-use centre/social hub stimulating economy, volunteerism and decreasing landfill use.

Mr. Reid noted that a new intake for funding is now open to charities, social enterprises and not-for-profits with an April 15 deadline for applications.

The particulars can be found at communityfoundationgreybruce.com.

The team at Split Rail will be sharing more of their vision and details of how the funding will enable the brewing company to better fulfil their social mission later in March.