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$76K raised for Saskatchewan grasslands through SGI rebates fundraiser

The Field of Dreams fundraiser has extended its deadline to July 16. File Photo / Global News

A Regina man is overwhelmed by the amount of money raised for Field of Dreams, an initiative encouraging people to donate their Saskatchewan Government Insurance rebate money to the grasslands.

Marc Spooner organized the movement in March when he heard about the SGI rebate program.

Read more: Saskatchewan Government Insurance to start sending out rebate cheques this week

Announced in February, SGI has mailed out one-time rebates to all of its customers.

“Frankly, in our position, I probably wouldn’t know if you asked me three years from now, ‘what did you spend your $350 from SGI on.” Spooner joked that if he hadn’t donated it, the money probably would have gone to a meal at a restaurant or “good craft beer.”

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Read more: Organization looks to turn SGI rebates into grasslands preservation

“What I was hoping for is more something that I could point to my kids and say ‘you know during COVID and in 2021 we got this SGI rebate and a bunch of us all across the province decided to pool (the money) together and leave a tangible legacy,'” Spooner said.

Click to play video: 'SGI Rebates Coming Soon' SGI Rebates Coming Soon
SGI Rebates Coming Soon – May 14, 2021

Spooner joined forces with the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC) Saskatchewan region to organize the movement.

In talking about what needed to be protected in the province, the group identified the grasslands as one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.

“It’s right here in our backyard, right here in Saskatchewan,” Spooner said.

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The grasslands play a critical role in the province, filtering out water, preventing floods and droughts, and sequestering carbon.

Read more: NCC wants thousands of hectares of native Saskatchewan prairie grasslands protected

The group settled on acquiring a piece of land to protect it and provide a place for future generations to visit.

At the time this article was published, a total of $76,943 has been raised.

Recently, Saskatoon couple Heather Ryan and L. David Dubé have agreed to match every dollar donated to the cause.

Dubé is the CEO of Concorde Group of Companies and was recognized for his philanthropic involvement in the community in 2020 when he was appointed to the Order of Canada.

The couple has contributed to nature conservancy and animal welfare in the past.

Individuals can donate their rebate money or non-rebate funds at canadahelps.org. The fundraiser has extended its deadline to July 16 as some customers wait to receive their rebate cheque in the mail.

Read more: Bringing back the bluebird: 4 out of 5 species declining on Saskatchewan grasslands

Spooner acknowledged the last year and a bit has been a tough financial time for some families with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“If that money is needed, then use it for what you need it for. If there are other places in your community that you feel need a donation, make that donation to the places in your community that need help.”

Spooner said if individuals are looking to “leave a lasting legacy” with their rebate money or other donations, they can donate to the Field of Dreams.

Click to play video: 'Field of Dreams organizer explains why SGI customers should donate rebate money to their cause' Field of Dreams organizer explains why SGI customers should donate rebate money to their cause
Field of Dreams organizer explains why SGI customers should donate rebate money to their cause – Jun 12, 2021

“In four years from now you will remember what you did, you’ll be able to come and you can actually walk the very land that you helped preserve for future generations and many species.”

Cody Barnett, director of development and communications for NCC’s Saskatchewan region said donors make it possible for the organization to accomplish its work across Canada.

“Their support ensures that native species, the lands they call home, and the lands we love and use for recreation are protected. By donating to Field of Dreams, people can double their impact in protecting nature, which will benefit us today and for our future generations,” Barnett said.

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Field of Dreams can also be found on Facebook or at www.saskfieldofdreams.ca

-with files from Thomas Piller

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