Prototype Solutions for Big Challenges

Here at GLPF, we like to get to the root of a problem and find (and fund) the actions that lead to improvements. We recently put out a call for ideas to address what we feel are the important challenges facing the Lakes:

  • increasingly large rain events,
  • under-investment in water infrastructure,
  • nutrient pollution and harmful algae blooms,
  • threats posed by potential and existing invasive species, and
  • adapting to the demographic and economic changes in our region.

The responses were eye-opening and impressive, and we have invited full proposals from several teams, but we’re not done.

We’re continuing to look for action-oriented strategies (perhaps combined) that can address some of our root problems, such as:

  • managing water in real-time,
  • integrating natural and built water management systems,
  • designing pay-for-performance financing, or
  • harnessing machine learning and autonomous control.

Within these strategies, we know there are game-changing solutions that will demonstrate improvement to ecosystem health and show growing impact by the time GLPF support expires. We want you to help us uncover them.

The key word here is action—it’s in our mission. We don’t fund research reports that sit on shelves. Showing how these strategies can be done, in real places, is more powerful than desktop research, policy analysis, or planning activities alone. We aim to launch projects that ultimately will have an outsized return for the ecosystem.

And by outsized return, we mean impact. Significant, measurable, ecological improvement. The Lakes as a system should benefit from our investments. Not one beach, not one watershed, or even just one lake—it’s a system and we want solutions that apply that type of thinking and can realize improvements at a region-wide scale.

To get a region to change, or a system to change, it can take a lot of people. Somebody has to have The Big Idea, and if that’s you, we need you to find and lead a team of people who will help make your idea important to the region and impossible to ignore.

That’s what we mean by collaboration. The most successful teams combine technologists, conservation leaders, water managers, academic talent, commercial partners, and local governments to test and evaluate their strategy and drive change at the scale necessary to create system-wide impact. That can be a lot of people, but it needs to be the right people. We can help you find them.

We are always looking for project teams that are willing to try something transformational, engage people who have never likely teamed up before, and build solutions that make better sense to everyone.

The challenges we face are big and we know we don’t have all of the answers, but we are always open to solutions—please don’t wait for an rfp to contact us.

If you want to explore an idea—even if it may not seem to fit with these challenges—or discuss a potential project, email us at startaconversation@glpf.org. We encourage you to start with a conversation even before you think about submitting anything to us.

If you are interested in participating in a project, being an expert reviewer, or offering advice to GLPF or a project team, enter your information into our talent bank survey.

GLPF will not support advocacy campaigns, public works projects, compliance obligations or lobbying.