In 2013, Aster Group Environmental Services Co-op was formed as a worker co-op that delivers environmental consulting services. From the outset, Aster Group members noted the need to support New Brunswick’s environmental movement with funds that were independent of government control and influence. Built directly into the Aster Group’s mandate is a requirement to donate 10% of its profits to an environmental foundation.
Around the same time, the report, “Growing Environmental Philanthropy in Atlantic Canada,” was released by the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network (now Environmental Funders Canada), which highlighted the low levels of environmental philanthropy in Atlantic Canada.
Despite the relatively low proportion of environmental philanthropy coming into the province, New Brunswick boasts a mature, strategic, and well-connected environmental movement, thanks to the government-based Environmental Trust Fund, the stellar work of the New Brunswick Environmental Network, (the largest provincial network of its kind in Canada), and to New Brunswickers’ natural love for their communities and the surrounding landscape.
Hence, in 2017, Aster Foundation was born, becoming a Canadian registered charity in 2020. Back-stopped by a modest annual donation from the Aster Group, Aster Foundation raises money from donors interested in supporting strategic, high-impact environmental projects that are under-funded or not typically funded by government funding programs, and in areas that tend to receive less support from large grantmakers.