Our website is designed to help you discover and use the Great Lakes Protection Fund. The Fund is a unique critter in the ecosystem of Great Lakes institutions.

We help teams test the application of new technologies, new approaches to governance, and sometimes new styles of leadership.

Many visitors to this website are frustrated by the lack of a specific list of favored topics, sought-for actions, coveted widgets, or other “pre-approved, fundable project ideas.” Other visitors are inspired to pick up a keyboard or telephone to begin discussing ideas, challenges, and project outcomes.

Most teams that get funding have initiated a relationship that has grown out of extensive, informal discussions that hover over the intersections of science, finance, politics, civic engagement, business models, risk shifting and optimistic unknowns.

Imagination and indefatigable curiosity are critical to project design. In our world, project design is a journey we take together. Let’s determine that your ideas are unavoidably ripe. Our purpose is getting to “yes.”


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


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