Essex Region – The Essex Region Conservation Foundation announced today that it has been re-accredited into the Imagine Canada Standards Program. With this achievement, it remains part of the distinguished and ever-growing community of nonprofit organizations dedicated to operational excellence. The Foundation first received accreditation in 2015, and at the time, was one of only 150 Canadian charities to achieve this prestigious certification.
The Standards Program is a Canada-wide set of shared standards for charities and non-profits designed to help organizations strengthen their operations in five fundamental areas: board governance; financial accountability and transparency; fundraising; staff management; and volunteer involvement.
“Throughout 2021, our Board undertook a rigorous review of all of our policies and our bylaw to ensure it met these highest standards of excellence,” said Claire Wales, President of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation. “Following our internal updates, our policies and procedures in the five areas of compliance were evaluated by a group of volunteers from the sector, and were found to be compliant with the Standards Program.”
Accredited organizations are required to complete this full re-accreditation process on a five-year basis. Compliance during the accreditation period is monitored regularly and requires organizations to submit evidence demonstrating selected standards are being met.
The goals of Imagine Canada’s Standards Program are to increase organizational excellence and transparency of charities and non-profits, to build resilience and to strengthen public confidence in individual organizations and the sector as a whole. To earn the accreditation, organizations must meet 73 standards in financial management and accountability, fundraising practice, board governance, staff management, and volunteer management.
“Our re-accreditation into the prestigious Imagine Canada Standards Program ensures that our valued donors and partners can trust in the stewardship and environmental impact of their generous donations,” Wales adds. “We believe our investment in meeting these standards of excellence demonstrates our commitment to the highest level of transparency, accountability and good governance.”
The Foundation raises funds for four main pillars: greening the region and taking climate action; connecting the region by trails; inspiring future generations through conservation education; and preserving our heritage at the John R. Park Homestead.
Wales credits the trust of its donors and partners with its continued fundraising successes during these past few difficult years. Support from donors has allowed the addition of the new accessible Conservation Centre at the John R. Park Homestead. Two new community entrances – the WFCU Credit Union Community Entrance and the Tilray Brands Plant Positivity Community Entrance – have been added to the Greenway Trail System. The Enbridge Natural Playground and the University of Windsor Outdoor Classroom have been constructed at Holiday Beach Conservation Area, and the Solcz Family Foundation Forest has connected thousands of young people to nature while adding much needed forest habitat to our region.
“These conservation successes are only possible because of the incredible support and commitment of thousands of donors and partners across the Essex region and beyond,” Wales goes on to say. “And with the changes to the Conservation Authorities Act, these partnerships and this support will become even more important to ensuring that we can all work together to protect and improve our regional environment.”
Since 1977, the Essex Region Conservation Foundation has been enriching and sustaining the Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island region as the Place for Life.