Welcome to the Great Lakes Protection Fund!

My wife Fran and I have a deep passion for our Great Lakes. We have enjoyed many family trips to Lake Erie and treasure the times fishing for walleye and perch with my children and grandchildren!

Lake Erie, and her four sister lakes, are truly international treasures. They provide the residents of eight states and two Canadian provinces with drinking water, abundant wildlife, recreational opportunities, a vibrant economy, and an unparalleled backdrop. I am committed, as Fund chair, to see us roll out new tools to protect these waters.

The Fund is a source of new ideas and new solutions for the challenges that my fellow governors and I face managing 20% of the world’s freshwater. As a private corporation, the Fund can explore solutions beyond the reach of our state agencies and public institutions. It has deployed hundreds of multi-sector collaborations that have reshaped how we manage our Lakes. Quietly, those collaborative teams have pioneered new technologies, practices, and financing strategies that restore and protect the waters of the Great Lakes.

Working alongside and in partnership with others has resulted in transformative tools that have become part of our everyday lives. Here are a few results of our collaborative work:

Your family and friends who farm may get advice from a crop advisor about managing nutrients on their fields.
Because of the Fund’s work, that advice has improved water quality by removing millions of pounds of phosphorus from our waterways.

You may have chosen to buy paper or timber that is labeled as sustainably grown.
Because of the Fund’s work, there are now over 20 million acres of sustainably managed forests in our Great Lakes states.

You may remember hearing about invasive species in the Lakes, but it’s been a while since you’ve heard of a new one.
Fund-supported teams created the methods to reduce those invasions by more than 90%.

In Ohio, proud Buckeyes are committed to ensuring safe and clean water for all through our H2Ohio program. Delivering the impact that’s required to protect our lakes takes time and collaboration. My fellow governors and I will continue to rely on the Fund to build the next generation of solutions to our shared water management challenges.

Please join us in this critical work! We welcome your advice, ideas, and participation in building a healthier Great Lakes ecosystem and better quality of life for those who depend on it.

Very respectfully yours,

Mike DeWine
Chair of the Great Lakes Protection Fund


The Great Lakes are held in trust for future generations. How do we increase their value?

Ideas in Action

The Governors of the Great Lakes states created the Great Lakes Protection Fund in 1989 to help them protect and restore their shared Great Lakes resources.

It was a unique time and a unique collaboration among governors that led to the creation of the Great Lakes Protection Fund. The Fund is the first private endowment created to benefit a specific ecosystem. The eight Great Lakes governors designed the Fund to catalyze the continuous development of new technologies, innovative methods, and practical regional actions to improve the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem.

The founding governors created something lasting that has never been duplicated.

Read the full History


million paid in State Shares

One third of the Fund’s net earnings are paid to our member states each year in proportion to their share of the corporation’s endowment. State shares are used to support local projects that match opportunities identified by each state.

Learn about State Shares


  • 2021 Overview Brochure
  • Strategic Plan 2019 - 2024
  • 25th Anniversary Brochure
  • Questions and Actions
  • Enquiry Report Summary
  • Ideas in Action
Annual Reports
click on the year to download
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
  • 1999
  • 1998