$8,500 offered to youth engaged in their communities

VANCOUVER | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF THE xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) FIRST NATIONS — At a time when youth mental health is at risk and youth involvement in the ecological transition has never been more important, the David Suzuki Foundation is devoting the 2022 Future Ground Prize to young people. The Ontario- and now British Columbia–based competition, presented by Desjardins and supported by Nature’s Way, aims to give young change-makers hope and reward their inspiring community-level initiatives.

“All age groups must participate in the transition to a sustainable way of life on this planet, but we’re seeing the leadership and community involvement of young people as a unique driving force in provinces like Ontario and British Columbia,” David Suzuki Foundation mobilization and engagement director Megan Hooft said. “Their presence helps get parents and entire communities involved. We’re devoting this year’s awards to young people because we want to give them the space and means to feed their ambition and pursue their dreams for a better tomorrow for everyone in Canada.”

All 2022 Future Ground Prize submissions must be led by youth ages five to 25. The selection committee will choose 10 finalists who will be eligible to win the People’s Choice Prize in a public vote from May 16 to June 13. Three of these inspiring projects will earn one of the following awards: the Grand Prize, the Rising Stars Prize (chosen from entries by the youngest participants, ages five to 14) and the People’s Choice Prize (the project that draws the most public votes).

The three winning initiatives will be announced on June 22 at a virtual event attended by David Suzuki, Severn Cullis-Suzuki and a surprise guest artist.

Awards totalling $8,500 will be offered by Desjardins to the three winning projects: $5,000 for the Grand Prize, $2,500 for the People’s Choice Prize and $1,000 for the Rising Stars Prize.

“Being a partner of the David Suzuki Foundation’s Future Ground Prize is another manifestation of our desire to encourage young people to create innovative projects that will change our vision of economic development and engage communities in the necessary ecological transition,” said Pauline D’Amboise, secretary general and vice-president of governance and sustainable development at Desjardins Group. “By promoting and celebrating citizen action, we are giving ourselves levers to change mentalities and behaviours.”

“We are excited for another year of the Future Ground Prize,” said Daniel Hughes, national sales director at Nature’s Way Canada. “The expansion of this program into another Canadian region (B.C.) will mean more local, community-led initiatives will be supported across Canada. We look forward to seeing the projects that will be submitted.”

The Foundation will also offer Future Ground Prize participants opportunities to learn and share knowledge and best practices through the Future Ground Network (and Réseau Demain le Québec), a network launched by the Foundation in 2021 to provide support, tools, resources and inspiration to community groups throughout Canada.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, the 2022 Future Ground Prize will take place online for a second consecutive year.

People or groups interested in entering are invited to submit their projects to the Future Ground Prize by midnight Pacific time on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at davidsuzuki.org/future-ground-prize.

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For more information or a media interview, please contact:

Rebecca Kram, rkram@davidsuzuki.org, 705-955-4039

About the Future Ground Prize:

A successful 2021 edition

The inaugural Future Ground Prize in Ontario received 125 submissions from community-level projects representing some of the most innovative and ambitious environmental and social efforts in Ontario. The Grand Prize was awarded to Indigenous Seeds of Hope – Planting Our Future in Milton, Ontario. The People’s Choice Prize was awarded to Ohneganos Let’s Talk Water in Ohsweken, Ontario, which received 1,776 votes, reflecting their ability to mobilize their community. The Youth Prize was awarded to the Movers and Shakers program in Guelph, Ontario.