Foundation series

River Institute receives $100,000 grant from RBC Foundation

The River Institute is pleased to announce a $100,000 grant from the RBC Tech for Nature Fund to support the Great River Rapport project. Channelle Martel, RBC Assistant Branch Manager, Cornwall Main Branch, and Ryan Smith, Regional Vice President, Eastern Ontario, were at the River Institute today to present. The grant supports the Great River Report, a report on the health of the upper St. Lawrence ecosystem.

The Great River Report is a scientific project that assesses the state and health of the Upper St. Lawrence. This multi-partner project uses data-centric technologies and online tools to improve our understanding of ecosystem health and motivate action. Inspired by the Haudenosaunee (Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen) speech of thanksgiving, the Great River Report relies on a strong partnership with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to guide its development. Over the next year, the River Institute will work with Indigenous partners, scientists, educators, communities and students to share important information about the river through stories, art, educational programs and of community engagement.

Dr. Leigh McGaughey is the lead scientist for the Great River Report project. “Since its inception, the Great River Rapport project has exceeded our expectations,” says Dr. McGaughey. “More than 2,500 volunteers, scientists, students and citizens have participated, and we continue to find innovative ways to engage people from diverse backgrounds in environmental science. We are grateful to RBC for their continued support and look forward to sharing our findings on the evolving ecosystem with everyone.

In its early stages, the Great River Report conducted a series of workshops and community surveys to identify a set of ecosystem health indicators representing the issues most important to the public. The project is now working collaboratively to assess the state of these indicators as they respond to pressures such as invasive species and climate change. This work will help guide future research, rehabilitation and restoration efforts. The Great River Report also provides opportunities for people to learn and engage through community events and web-based technologies, including an interactive website, videos, workshops, downloadable educational resources, portals to access data and citizen science initiatives. Learn more about the project here:

“We all have one thing in common: our love of this Great River. Our commitment to protect it, to learn from it. It’s a responsibility we share with community leaders, citizens and local organizations like the River Institute,” said Ryan Smith, RBC Regional Vice President, Eastern Ontario, Personal and Commercial Banking. “That’s why it’s so exciting to partner with the River Institute and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, along with many local experts and leaders on the Great River Report, which assesses the health of the beautiful St. Lawrence River. .
RBC Foundation, through RBC Tech for Nature, supports initiatives that tackle the pressing environmental challenges of our time by leveraging technology, developing innovative solutions and building multi-sector partnerships.

The River Institute was established in 1994 as a unique community partnership involving the City of Cornwall, government, education, business and industry, and the Mohawks of Akwesasne. Its mandate is environmental research and education focused on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ecosystem. As a non-profit charitable organization, the River Institute raises its own funds for all essential costs, including salaries, administration, overhead and operations. Grants, sponsorships and donations provide specific funding for research and special projects, as well as unlimited contributions from individual donors and River Champions. To support the River Institute, visit