A note from the Executive Director

Thank You!

As the New Year starts and I reflect on our mission and its impact for the Great Lakes, I am compelled to thank the hundreds of people who have worked with us during the last year. First and foremost, thanks to the more than 200 individuals from 112 organizations who have led, supported, and collaborated on the projects we’ve funded. Your persistence, dedication, and impact during a public health crisis are inspiring. You are creating new tools, new approaches, and better strategies to make the Lakes healthier.

Thank you to the hundreds of advisors and experts who have volunteered your valuable time to help us do our work better. We are better because of the hours each of our experts have spent helping us shape our programming and offering constructive feedback to prospective project teams. Thanks too to those who participated in our external evaluation. We have already put your honest, often direct, and constructive advice to work in our internal operations, and you’ll all be seeing more about this effort soon.

I want to thank the recipients of the 2020 Great Lakes leadership Awards for Excellence in Communication as well. We are thrilled to recognize your efforts to highlight the victories we share in protecting the world’s premier freshwater ecosystem, but also the challenges we face. You are essential to connecting this fantastic ecosystem to the people that live near and benefit from it.

Last, let me offer some thanks in advance to those with whom we will be working in the New Year. As always, we’ll be seeking new advice and expertise as we start up new project teams. To help replace those informal chats in the hallways or at happy hours at the events where we usually see one another—we invite you to share ideas about the opportunities you see to improve the health of the basin ecosystem—particularly those where small innovations create transformational change. Help us build a better normal!

Be safe and well,

David Rankin
Executive Director
847-425-8196, drankin@glpf.org


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


  • 2019 Overview Brochure
  • Strategic Plan 2019 - 2024
  • 25th Anniversary Brochure
  • Questions and Actions
  • Enquiry Report Summary
  • Ideas in Action
Annual Reports
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