Community Foundations Great Lakes Water Initiative – Phase 1
Council of Michigan Foundations
This project design support resulted in an implementation proposal for a network of new water initiatives led by community foundations on the coasts of the Great Lakes. During the project design grant, the team met with over 50 community foundations and gathered information via surveys, phone interviews, webinars and in-person meetings to determine each foundation’s relationship to water, what actions they want to undertake in the Great Lakes, their efforts to date, and what they need to succeed.
The Fund’s board of directors awarded a subsequent grant of up to $1,030,000 to expand the ability of the region’s shoreline communities to address aging water and wastewater systems, and the water quality and human health challenges posed by these systems. The team expected to launch initiatives in 12-18 Great Lakes coastal cities, but found such enthusiasm for the work they had to limit the team to foundations representing 31 coastal cities.
This work builds on the Community Foundation Network, a Fund-supported initiative which created environmental endowments in 26 communities, made successful by this team’s leadership.