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Vancity Awards Funds To Innovative Students and Graduates Who Developed A Business That Makes Social and Environmental Impacts in British Columbia

Vancity Awards Funds To Innovative Students and Graduates Who Developed A Business That Makes Social and Environmental Impacts in British Columbia

Vancouver, BC. Vancity is pleased to announce the winners of its first $90,000 Good Money Impact™ Venture Challenge competition, launched to help post-secondary students and recent post-secondary graduates grow businesses that are creating positive social and environmental impact in B.C.

The three winners came from a shortlist of ten businesses representing a wide range of industry sectors including urban agriculture, sustainable products, aquaculture, gaming technology, and clean tech.

“We were extremely impressed by the forty applications we received from innovative organizations that are making social and environmental impacts that benefit so many of us,” said Garth Davis, VP Community Capital,Vancity. “The final three candidates are great examples of how we are focused on our philosophy of putting money to good by working together to build sustainable communities.”

First prize winner Ilana Labow of Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society was overwhelmed by the $50,000 cash prize as it will truly change what they are able to accomplish this season and moving forward. "Hundreds of children in schools across Vancouver eat our schoolyard grown veggies with huge smiles on their faces because they learn and play in the spaces where their food grows and know their farmers,” said Ilana Labow. “Vancity has just made it possible for literally thousands of children to share that same experience. Their commitment to genuine impact, at a neighborhood level, for all people, re-inspires my faith in the possibility of true systemic change. I feel lucky to be living in a city with a credit union like Vancity."

About the winners:
1st prize of $50,000 has been awarded to Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society which enhances urban food sovereignty by creating equitable access to healthy food and educating communities through engaging, innovative neighborhood farms, and most recently through schoolyard market gardens. Co-founder, Director, Community-Engaged Farmer, Ilana Labow is currently a Masters of Science candidate studying the viability of schoolyard market gardens in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC, and is a graduate research assistant with the Think&EatGreen@School project. Marc Schutzbank is a Masters of Science candidate in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, investigating the economic, social, and environmental contributions of Vancouver’s urban farms.

2nd prize of $25,000 is awarded to TwoThirds Water Inc. a B.C. social venture that provides water treatment products for international development and disaster relief. Their launch product is a water filter that is simple enough that any child can immediately treat his or her own drinking water to US EPA standards, without training or written instructions. President and Founder, Bradley Pierik, will graduate from UBC in 2012 with a Masters of Applied Science in Chemical & Biological Engineering. Kevin Reilly is currently earning his PhD in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UBC.

3rd prize of $15,000 is awarded to Urban Stream Innovation Inc. which develops technology for the emerging urban agriculture market. Their launch product, the urban micro-farm, is an enclosed waste-to-resource system roughly the size of a street-side parking space that combines composting technology with small-scale aquaculture or hydroponics. Vice-President, Wes Regan just completed his BA in Urban Geography at SFU after earning an Associate's Degree in Geography at Langara while co-founder Nick Hermes holds a Bachelor of Engineering from UBC and wrote his honours thesis on sustainable food systems.

About Vancity:

At Vancity we make you good money by putting money to good. Vancity’s vision of redefining wealth incorporates personal and community well-being. Vancity has distributed $221 million to members through dividends and to communities through grants and community investment initiatives since 1994. We are a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values – a network of the world’s leading sustainable banks sharing the commitment to achieving triple-bottom-line impact through responsible banking practices. A Living Wage employer, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union, with $16.1 billion in assets, more than 479,500 members and 59 branches throughout Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. More information about Vancity is available at

For more information contact:
Cell: 778.837.0394