Welcome to the Great Lakes Protection Fund.

During a transitional time for the Fund, our staff and board spent time reflecting on our purpose and the shared priorities of our member governors. We evaluated where we really add value, what we can do differently (and/or better), and how we might focus our energy for the next few years.

As a result, the Board approved a new strategic plan for 2019-2024 based on that process.

If you are familiar with us already, a few things will remain constant. We will stay focused on our mission to identify, demonstrate and promote regional action to enhance the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem. We will continue to seek positive, transformational impact in our work. And, we will continue to hold ourselves to a standard of excellence in our operational and fiduciary responsibilities.

Other things will be different. We will be a more extroverted and engaged organization. We will celebrate what our supported teams have created, be more transparent in our processes, and share what we learn when projects unfold differently than expected. You will hear more from us, hear from us more often, and see us more regularly.

We will also more clearly articulate our funding priorities. We will focus our support where experts have identified an overlap of ecosystem need and transformational opportunity. For the near term, those priorities include:

  • the expanded use of technology and finance tools to drive sustainable use of water resources,
  • the expanded role of third parties and non-traditional partners in reducing nutrient pollution, and
  • the use of new approaches to limit the introduction and spread of invasive species.

We also will be more engaged with our expert advisors. In fact, we are looking for advice on the highest impact projects in our priority areas. If you want to actively participate, please let us know by signing up for our talent bank.

It is my privilege to lead our incredible team and to work with all of you. As I said above, you’ll be hearing from us.

David Rankin
Executive Director

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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  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
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