Sugar Bush Foundation funds five projects for 2016-17 that promote environmental sustainability, education

Kate Keverline
June 28, 2016

This story originally appeared on Ohio University's Compass. To view it in its original form, click here.

The Ohio University Foundation announced at its annual meeting in June funding for five projects through The Sugar Bush Foundation, a supporting organization within the Foundation that works with OHIO and local communities to improve the quality of life in Appalachian Ohio.

The Sugar Bush Foundation was established in 2005 and has funded projects proposed cooperatively by OHIO units and local nonprofit organizations. Projects that foster environmental sustainability and healthy living are its focal points.

The projects approved are as follows:

  • Phase VII, The Appalachia Ohio Zero Waste Initiative (AOZWI): $150,000.  The funding will allow the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and community partner Rural Action, Inc. to continue waste economy improvements in southeast Ohio. The AOZWI expands to every actor in the region’s solid waste and recycling sectors in an effort to create a culture that supports and accepts growth toward zero waste. In the initiative’s five years of work, it has more than doubled residential and commercial recycling rates. Over time, the project will increase waste diversion through recycling and composting, decrease per capita waste generation, grow recycling-based ventures and work toward zero waste at OHIO.
  • Zero Waste Thrift Store: $50,000. The Voinovich School will partner with Athens non-profit ReUse Industries to establish Athens MakerSpace, a 4,000-foot social workspace designed for the creation of re-use projects. The enterprise will implement woodworking, fabric-fiber arts and electronics, along with instruction, events and venture development support in a wide array of creative disciplines to restore discarded material. MakerSpace will provide hands-on experience in order illustrate concepts like design, science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, while supporting the development of locally made upcycled products.
  • Year 2, ReStore: Building a Regional Construction Material Procurement Program: $50,000. Funding will continue to develop Habitat for Humanity Southeast Ohio’s deconstruction program by increasing its inventory of usable materials for resale. The project will allow the Voinovich School and Habitat to accept donated and leftover materials from renovation sites to help accelerate the program’s operations and the building of new Habitat homes. The mission is to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity and reduce landfill waste. Eventually the program will collaborate with ReStore in the Zanesville area to create an online supply database.
  • Bringing Transparency to Environmental Issues Surrounding Class II Injection Wells through Community Engagement: $36,000. The funds will support training for community members interested in learning best practices in environmental decision-making, and will provide testing for local wells near injection sites. Led by the Voinovich School and Athens-based organization Buckeye Forest Council, participants will accrue knowledge about scientific data involving groundwater regulations that can protect the community.
  • Appalachian Food and Culture Consortium: Restoration and Resilience (AFCCRR): $17,800. OHIO Food Studies Theme, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Rural Action will collaborate on a two-year research and outreach project that aims to document, preserve and restore the food ways and cultural traditions of the region’s diverse food shed. The newly-formed unit will build resilient economies and promote food security by applying OHIO’s research capacity more substantially into the southeastern Ohio food system. The project aims to provide more information about food access and how readily it can be produced as well as develop opportunities to create economically sustainable and culturally appropriate food ways programs in Appalachia.

Established in 1945 by OHIO President John C. Baker, The Ohio University Foundation is the fundraising unit responsible for raising, investing and disbursing funds in support of the OHIO educational mission. The Foundation is an institutionally related, non-profit, tax exempt, 501(c)(3) organization, and is the repository for all private gifts to the University through annual giving programs, capital and special campaigns, and planned or deferred gifts.