A message from Governor Tim Walz

Thirty Years

I am proud of the Great Lakes Protection Fund and its thirty-year legacy of launching innovative solutions that improve the health of the Great lakes. I think we all would be proud to say we did something significant to improve the environment for thirty years. As its chair, I am committed to thirty more years of impact.

As much as I would like to lay claim to Lake Superior and the wealth of opportunity it presents for Minnesotans, it is part of a larger ecosystem that benefits the citizens of eight states. The same holds true for the Fund—our innovation portfolio addresses issues shared by my fellow governors across the region, all the way to New York.

That portfolio represents the best thinking in the water space, and those ideas come from all over. If you want to see who the leaders in the region will be in the future, you should check out our young project team leaders who are causing everyone to think and act differently when it comes to Great Lakes water. They have excellent role models from our thirty years of investments:

  • If you would have looked to the Fund in 1996, you would have seen leaders wrestling with how to design, install, and test the world’s first ballast water treatment system. They even put it on a working vessel. That kickstarted what is now a $17.4 billion ballast technology industry.
  • If you would have been a fly on the wall in 2000, you could have listened in on the work shaping the legal, scientific, technical, and practical dimensions of what became the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. That stopped large-scale diversions of water from the Lakes.
  • In 2014 you would have heard agricultural retailers exploring how to make money removing phosphorous from the lakes. (Spoiler: they have removed seven million pounds in the first three years.)

Creating impact takes time and we are in this for the long haul. Come to us and bring your best and brightest.

Tim Walz
Governor of Minnesota
Chair of the Great Lakes Protection Fund (2018-2019)


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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