The Great Lakes Protection Fund invests for impact. We fund projects that accelerate transformational change and deliver massive improvements to the health of our shared ecosystem. Start here to learn how to work with us.

Here’s how we select the projects we fund.

Meaningful Ecological Outcomes

Projects must deliver ecosystem improvements in the Great Lakes that are real and regionally significant.

  • Real improvements are measurable positive changes to significant physical, chemical, or biological impairments in the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Regionally significant improvements show increasing system-wide outcomes and potential for impact at the scale of the ecosystem.

A Strategy for Systemwide Change

We support projects with a compelling plan for transformational, basin-wide impact. Successful projects use market forces, new social norms, or policy shifts to change behavior. 

A Collaborative Team

Projects teams must include all the parties involved in your strategy: designers, implementers, experts, advisors, and the people who will ultimately use the results to make a difference. It should also include people who express concern about (or even opposition to) new ideas. 

Solution Focus and Action Orientation

The projects we support launch new approaches to solving Great Lakes problems. Your work should include concrete actions attempted in the real world that support your transformational strategy. The most impactful teams learn by doing and adapt based on what they have learned. 

Scientific Rigor

We fund projects that use the results of existing research and apply the skills of the scientific community — in short, projects that are based on sound science. We only support scientific or policy research if it’s part of a larger action strategy.

The Fund can support team members almost anywhere in the world. This includes for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, universities, governmental agencies, and individuals. Your team doesn’t need to be located within the Great Lakes region, but your project must have a positive impact on the region’s ecosystem.

Project teams selected for funding will be required to comply with our Intellectual Property Policy.

What We Don’t Do

The Fund doesn’t support advocacy, lobbying, litigation, compliance obligations, land acquisition, public works projects, or general operating expenses. Government agencies, in particular, must show that our support is not being used to replace or duplicate public funds.