The story of GreenUP is long and winding, with many ups and downs along the way. Like most non-profit organizations, GreenUP has been through good times and bad but always persevered and came out stronger than before with lessons learned and more determination than ever.
GreenUP creation was a result of 1989’s Peterborough Roundtable on the Environment. The community-based initiative was assembled by former Peterborough mayor Sylvia Sutherland and included representatives from Peterborough County and townships, Peterborough Utilities, Trent University and the Peterborough Real Estate Board just to name a few. The group produced a report which honed in on the need for an environmental voice in the community—Peterborough Green-Up was born.
Three years later, the organization was incorporated, marking its 20th anniversary in 2012. The organization’s original funders included the federal Environmental Partner’s Fund and the Peterborough Committee on Sustainable Development. In 1993 GreenUP received provincial funding from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy.
GreenUP started with a budget of about $80,000 from the city and the federal government. The three-person staff shared an office within Trent University’s Kawartha World Issues Centre.
In those early days, the organization focused on energy conservation and green space. It trained local volunteers to go into homes to install weather stripping and caulking. It provided a green space demonstration area. It got involved in neighbourhood tree planting and had an active community garden.
While GreenUP hasn’t really changed its focus, it has grown, taking advantage of programs and policies of governments to expand the breadth of its offerings.
1996 was one of the most challenging years for GreenUP. The Government of Ontario made the decision to no longer provide funding to organizations like GreenUP. Determined not to see the fate of many sister organizations across the province, GreenUP regrouped, made deep cuts and managed to sustain itself through this extremely difficult period in the organization’s history.
Following the cutbacks of 1996, GreenUP began receiving funding from a more diverse range of partners including Peterborough Utilities and the City of Peterborough and delivered a wide range of programs that not only provided an environmental benefit to the community, but also a sound financial footing.
Since our incorporation in 1992, GreenUP has remained faithful to the focus of providing high quality programs and services that centre on positive environmental action. In the 20 years since our inception, thousands of residents have participated in programs that cover energy efficiency; air quality, water quality and conservation; waste management; and landscape enhancement.