The Great Outdoors Fund is pleased to report another successful year for its Unsmoke Canada Cleanups program. The program, which provided $75,000 in grants to 19 organizations across Canada this year, exceeded every goal and broke its record in each measurable category from 2020 to 2021.

Even amid a global pandemic, communities across Canada—from British Columbia to Newfoundland—were empowered to make a difference in their communities. Grant recipients, local partners, and volunteers organized and executed numerous exceptional cleanup events focused on protecting Canada’s great outdoors.

Volunteers of Unsmoke Canada Cleanups 2021

Canadians gave back to nature.

Here are some of the key accomplishments from 2021 compared to 2020:

Unsmoke Canada 2021 Top Highlights

However, these figures are best summed up qualitatively by our Canadian partners on the ground who see first-hand the impacts that this program makes: “The Calgary ATV Riders Association is a proud user and steward of the Alberta trails – some of the best in Canada. We know the importance of maintaining and keeping them litter-free, for everyone to enjoy,” said Ken Spring, President of Calgary ATV Riders Association and 2021 grant recipient.

And for those interested in getting involved with the next round, The Great Outdoors Fund will begin accepting applications for 2022 cleanups next spring (soon to be announced). Grant applicants may include nonprofit organizations, private businesses, or local govs with a connection to and passion for nature, outdoor recreation, conservation, health and wellness, volunteer engagement, and/or community service. Awarded grant funding is to be used for organizing litter cleanup projects within local communities.

Volunteers of Unsmoke Canada Cleanups 2021 2

Established in 2020, Unsmoke Canada Cleanups is a grant-giving program facilitated by The Great Outdoors Fund in partnership with Unsmoke Canada and Terracycle.

June 24, 2021 – The Unsmoke Canada Cleanups program has awarded $75,000 in grant funding to 19 Canadian charities and not-for-profits in hopes of cleaning up the great outdoors. This is the second year that The Great Outdoors Fund and Unsmoke Canada have collaborated to put together the Unsmoke Canada Cleanups – a program with the goal of helping make it possible for everyone to work together to keep the country’s precious outdoors clean and pristine.

“We’re delighted to partner with Unsmoke Canada to administer the Unsmoke Canada Cleanups program, created to fund litter cleanups.” said Lori McCullough, Founder of The Great Outdoors Fund. “Litter is a tremendous, yet solvable problem in the world.  Given that cigarette butts are the most littered item on the planet, our partnership with Unsmoke Canada and this grant-giving campaign are so apropos.  Through the Unsmoke Canada Cleanups program, we are enabling people to take part in a collective effort to beautify their natural surroundings and protect the planet from the effects of litter.

Unsmoke Canada Cleanups was established in 2020 and considered an overwhelming success with more than 1,000,000 pounds of trash removed from Canada’s outdoor spaces.

“2021 is only the second year of the Unsmoke Canada Cleanups program.  We were overwhelmed by the applications we received in our first year so we increase this year’s funding to support as many groups as possible.” said Vasie Papadopoulos, Communications and Sustainability Manager for Unsmoke Canada. “Through our partnership with The Great Outdoors Fund, we’re able to engage volunteers at a grass-roots level to combat litter in their own community and have a real, tangible impact.  We’ve also expanded our efforts to reduce the effect that litter has on people, communities and the environment by teaming with TerraCycle to establish the Unsmoke Cigarette Recycling Program.  Together, we can and we will make a difference.”

2021 Unsmoke Canada Cleanups grants were awarded to the following organizations:

For more information, please visit thegreatoutdoorsfund.org or unsmoke.ca.  You can also visit us on Instagram at @thegreatoutdoorsfund or @unsmoke_ca.

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The Great Outdoors Fund is pleased to announce that Phase I of the San Juan River Public Access Enhancement Project will begin and be completed this fall thanks to a successful, collective fundraising effort that began, in earnest, in September 2020.

Last fall, The Great Outdoors Fund teamed with members of the Upper San Juan Watershed Enhancement Partnership (WEP) to begin raising money to fund a well-planned project that would enhance access and infrastructure at a highly-visited area along a popular run of the river near Pagosa Springs, CO.  Since then, collectively, more than $90,000 in public and private monies have been raised which will fully fund Phase I of this meritorious project.

The funding raised to date will be used to construct a new boat ramp which includes an eddy feature to make it safer for boaters to take their boats out of the river.  The project will also expand the parking area, making the overall experience better and safer for everyone.  Plus, a new information kiosk will be constructed on-site to provide visitors with information about the area as well as tips on how to recreate responsibly and be a good steward of our natural resources.

The overall project goals are to preserve and enhance recreation opportunities, reduce conflicts between recreational users, improve the recreation experience for all users, and eliminate trespass issues on private and Tribal lands.

“The Great Outdoors Fund selected the San Juan project to pilot a crowdfunding campaign around and drive donations through TheGreatOutdoorsFund.org where 100% of all donations go directly to a project as designated by the giver,” said Lori McCullough, Founder of The Great Outdoors Fund. “Nearly $5,000 was donated by dozens of individuals through our website which created a waterfall effect for other funding being raised until we reached our fundraising goal for Phase I turning this project into a success story in the making.”

Partners from the public and private sectors that have invested in this project include the Pagosa Area Tourism Board, Town of Pagosa Springs, Archuleta County, Friends of the Upper San Juan River, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Southwest River Engineering, The Great Outdoors Fund, Mountain Land Associates, Colorado Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, and Trout Unlimited’s Five Rivers Chapter.

Up next, The Great Outdoors Fund and USDA Forest Service, along with the Friends of the Bridger Teton will collaborate to fundraise for the Green River Lake Recreation Site Enhancement project, which is already halfway funded with money awarded through the Great American Outdoors Act.   Click here to donate directly to the Green River Lake project.

For more information, please visit thegreatoutdoorsfund.org or visit us on Instagram at @thegreatoutdoorsfund.

It’s official!

The Great Outdoors Fund and our favorite neighbors to the north, Unsmoke Canada, have officially opened the application process for the second annual Unsmoke Canada Cleanups grant-giving program.

In case you missed it last year, Unsmoke Canada Cleanups was established in 2020 as a grant-giving program between Unsmoke Canada and The Great Outdoors Fund. The goal of the program is to support litter cleanup projects across the country and to help everyone work together to clean up Canada’s great outdoors.

“Litter is an issue of concern in society whether you’re in an urban or rural area. It impacts diverse locations –from streets and city parks to beaches and oceans—and cigarette butts are among the most frequently littered items,”  said Vasie Papadopoulos, Communications Manager at RBH. “The Unsmoke Canada Cleanups program will help raise awareness of littering in Canada with a specific emphasis on cigarette butt waste.

In 2020, the program provided $50,000 in funding to 17 groups that went on to organize local litter cleanup projects throughout the year. From Penticton, British Columbia to Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador, 283,977 volunteers from coast-to-coast ­dedicated 427,122 hours to collect 1,031,926 pounds of litter—all during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Talk about dedication to the great outdoors!  

“2021 is the second year of the Unsmoke Canada Cleanups campaign, and we were so pleased with the achievements during the inaugural year in 2020 that we increased the amount of available funding this year,” said Lori McCullough, Founder and CEO of The Great Outdoors Fund. “We encourage any nonprofit organization in Canada to be a part of the solution to address the global issue of litter by applying for a grant to help keep Canada’s natural resources beautiful.”

The Great Outdoors Fund and Unsmoke Canada encourage nonprofit organizations with a connection to nature, outdoor recreation, outdoor conservation, health and wellness, volunteer engagement, and/or community service to apply for the grant. With these grants, the groups will organize litter cleanup projects that will take place in local communities across Canada in 2021.

To apply for the grant, please visit this link.

 And stay tuned!