A Message from Governor Tom Wolf

Welcome to the Great Lakes Protection Fund!

Pennsylvania is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including one of North America’s Great Lakes. Whether viewing stunning sunsets along the sandy beaches of Presque Isle State Park, enjoying the challenges of a world-class sport fishery, moving goods through our port, or relying on the craftsmanship and expertise of Erie’s historic shipbuilding industry, Lake Erie shapes our border and connects Pennsylvania to the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth.

The Great Lakes recount our shared history, sustain our natural environments, provide safe and clean water to our communities, and hold promise for a sustainable economic and environmental future. They require our closest attention to conserve them for future generations.

I’m proud to be a Great Lakes governor and to serve as chairman of the Great Lakes Protection Fund, which was created to protect and sustain the health of the Great Lakes. The Fund provides support to ensure sustainable use of water resources, control pollution from diffuse sources, and stop the introduction and spread of non-native aquatic invasive species.

The Fund was designed as a change-maker; it seeks out and supports innovative, regional solutions to problems, both old and new, that challenge the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem. The Fund approaches projects and partners in a way that is both thoughtful and unique on the Great Lakes. We emphasize the sharing of ideas, fostering constructive dialogue, and providing funding flexibility to create successful projects and outcomes that span public and private sectors.

The Fund welcomes all innovative thinkers including entrepreneurs, academic leaders, non-governmental organizations, and governments to join in protecting and restoring the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes. We welcome your ideas and invite you to become an active participant in creating transformational change to protect these precious natural resources.

The Great Lakes are one-fifth of the world’s surface freshwater and have given North America a wealth of environmental, recreational, and economic benefits. It’s critical, therefore, that we do everything we can to ensure that these majestic bodies of water remain healthy and vibrant so that we can continue to enjoy them.

Very respectfully yours,

Tom Wolf
Chair of the Great Lakes Protection Fund

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


  • 2021 Overview Brochure
  • Strategic Plan 2019 - 2024
  • 25th Anniversary Brochure
  • Questions and Actions
  • Enquiry Report Summary
  • Ideas in Action
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