The Gordie Howe International Bridge has recently announced their 2020 Community Organization Investment application process as part of their larger $10 million community investment.

As the Windsor/Essex Community Benefits Coalition, we are encouraging groups and organizations to submit their ideas for this next step in Community Benefits through the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The Coalition does not represent the application process from this Bridge, but is looking to amplify the opportunity to extend Community Benefits as much as possible around this project. For complete details and how to apply visit the Gordie Howe Bridge’s website.

The Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy of the Community Benefits Plan includes a commitment to provide a $50,000 (CDN) annual investment allowance for community organizations located in or servicing Sandwich/West Windsor or Delray/Southwest Detroit residents for a five-year duration from 2020 – 2024. Applications are now open for the 2020 Community Organization Investment funding cycle and will be accepted until January 31, 2020.

While the Community Benefits process through the Gordie Howe Bridge has been inclusive of ideas from the community, there is room for smaller projects, events, and investments that didn’t make the larger round of funding. 

Quick facts:

  • Find application process and contact here for the Gordie Howe International Bridge. (Link)
  • Requested funding must directly benefit the Sandwich or Southwest Detroit communities
  • Applications are open for initiatives ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 (CAD)
  • Applications for funding will be accepted until 4:30PM EST on January 31, 2020.
  • The applicant must be a registered charity
  • Individuals, public sector and for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply. 
  • If the applicant is not a registered charity, a trustee organization that is a registered charity must also be named within the application and provide an accompanying letter of support and proof of charitable registration.
  • Projects/initiatives applying for funding during the 2020 funding cycle must have anticipated completion dates prior to June 30, 2021. Funding will not be committed over multiple years.

Initiatives must benefit Sandwich (or Delray/Southwest Detroit) and fall into four priority areas that were identified through public consultation: community partnerships, community safety and connections, economic benefits, and/or aesthetics and landscaping. These categories already received funding through the initial $10 million Community Investment announcement, but will also be used to categorize the new funding applications. We have highlighted the projects that have already been allocated funding to give you an idea of the type of projects already approved.

We encourage you to reach out to the Gordie Howe International Bridge to check to see if your idea fits the criteria. We have highlighted the official description, projects that have been funded, and ideas from the Coalition’s 2017 research



1. Community Partnerships:

The Gordie Howe International Bridge describes Community Partnerships as, “how the private-sector partner and WDBA can partner with local services and agencies to provide enhanced services to the region’s residents or businesses or promote the region.”

Sandwich Town, as the host community for the Gordie Howe International Bridge, will be the gateway for a significant portion of the traffic (vehicular as well as cyclists and pedestrians who cross the bridge) that enters the city. Large portions of West Windsor currently face significant socio-economic challenges with higher rates of poverty, lower educational outcomes, and pockets of newcomer populations, prevalence of blight and vacant buildings, and risk of physical isolation from the rest of the city. Efforts at revitalization will be blunted without significant holistic investment in both economic and community initiatives.

Community Partnerships – $1.47 million
(Already allocated funds – not part of this application process)

  • Community grant to Walpole Island First Nation (WIFN)
  • Community organization investment
  • Multi-year grant to ProsperUS program
  • Sandwich Neighbourhood Art Project


2. Community safety and connections

The Gordie Howe International Bridge describes this section as, “ensuring residents are able to safely move about the community by foot or vehicle and access churches, schools and health centres. It also reflects the suggestions for cycling and pedestrian access to the bridge and surrounding areas.”

 Although this crossing is designed as a bypass for West Windsor and eliminating the “six red lights” from North American international trade, it must be ensured that this crossing does not segregate and isolate the residents of West Windsor and deprive our region of social and economic opportunities. Our 2017 report that plans must not only focus on the automobile but also other forms of connectivity including: public transit, cycling and walking. 

Also identified by the WDBA is the need to ensure community safety while not burdening the local municipalities. The presence of a multiple international crossing in a single municipality places a significant burden on municipal services, in particular to ensure the safety of residents and travelers.

Community Safety and Connections – $2.13 million
(Already allocated funds – not part of this application process)

  • Expand adjacent trails to the Gordie Howe International Bridge
  • Construction observation platform
  • Bike Rack Design Contest

3. Economic benefits

The Gordie Howe International Bridge defines the Economic Benefits category as “Incorporating training opportunities, jobs and economic development activities including tourism”.

The Coalition’s 2017 report identified Sandwich Town’s unique history in our region, provincially and nationally, there is an opportunity to promote the history of Sandwich Town as an attraction. The report encouraged incentives for local businesses to take advantage of the new international crossing by enabling them to bid on procurement, take advantage of new market opportunities or expand operations to meet new demand as a result of the project.

Economic Benefits – $850,000
(Already allocated funds – not part of this application process)

  • Sandwich Business Development Program
  • Windsor-Detroit Cross River Tour – Canadian Features
  • Culinary Student Training Experience


4. Aesthetics and landscaping

The Gordie Howe International Bridge describes the Aesthetics and Landscaping category, as “Ensuring the project and surrounding area are attractive”.

The 2017 Coalition research highlighted a community priority to preserve the at-risk species and demonstrate a commitment to ensuring a healthy environment.

Aesthetics and Landscaping Investments – $2.75 million
(Already allocated funds – not part of this application process)

  • Ojibway Park Wildlife Eco-Passage Investment
  • Sandwich Street Enhancements
  • Sandwich Park Improvements
  • Neighbourhood Green Improvements For more information about the application process, please contact the Gordie Howe International Bridge