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Voinovich School projects receive $174K in Sugar Bush Foundation funding

Christina Van Fossen
October 7, 2019

The Sugar Bush Foundation has awarded $174,000 to one new and two continuing Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs projects — including a new Habitat for Humanity campus in Chauncey. 

The awards were among more than $296,000 recently funded by the Sugar Bush Foundation, a supporting organization of The Ohio University Foundation that seeks to improve the quality of life in Appalachian Ohio through the encouragement of civic engagement and fostering sustainable environmental and socioeconomic development. The Sugar Bush Foundation makes awards to programs that are Ohio University-community collaborations.

Two of the funded Voinovich School projects are for existing programs. “Value-Added Products from Rural Wastes,” a collaboration between Rural Action and Associate Professor Dr. Sarah Davis, received $35,000 to attempt to convert septage into nutrient-rich fertilizer. If successful, the conversion system will help alleviate health concerns of septic tank seepage, reduce homeowners’ septic tank maintenance costs and improve wildlife ecosystems — not to mention create a useful consumer product. 

“The Sugar Bush Foundation provides a very important opportunity to connect academic discovery to issues in our region. We have wonderful partners at Rural Action and look forward to working with our community to develop a pathway for improved septage management,” Davis said. 

The Appalachian Ohio Zero Waste Initiative was awarded $79,000 to continue its efforts to change the way our region thinks about waste. A 10-year partnership between the Voinovich School and Rural Action, the initiative has led sustainability efforts and methods in the region. To date, the initiative has doubled recycling rates in Athens County. The initiative also led to the formation of Zero Waste Event Productions, a social enterprise helping event organizers around the Midwest sustainably manage waste and grounds cleanup. According to the company’s website, Zero Waste Event Productions has served 127 events and diverted nearly 300,000 pounds of recyclable materials from landfills. 

The Sugar Bush Foundation also funded a new Voinovich School project, collaborating with Habitat for Humanity for sustainable social enterprise development in Chauncey. The $60,000 award will support efforts to create a new Chauncey Habitat for Humanity campus to establish a regional circular economy in which construction materials are reclaimed, repaired and repurposed. The new facility will include a 6,000 square foot warehouse for construction equipment and ReStore donation overflow; a training center with a wood shop and classrooms; and an outdoor pad to accommodate construction of housing components for educational purposes. To read the original article click here.