Foundation grantmaking focuses on four major program areas.
These programs touch upon a number of major issues.
Each grantmaking program also works within clearly stated geographic parameters or regions.
For general information and resources about philanthropy,
visit our Philanthropy Resources page.
The Mott Foundation's domestic environmental grantmaking focuses on Conservation of Freshwater Ecosystems in the Great Lakes basin and a large portion of southeastern United States.
River Network is a national technical assistance provider that seeks to build a strong, connected network of citizens and groups working to protect and restore U.S. waterways. With prior Mott support, the network delivered a variety of technical assistance services and small grants to strengthen the capacity of freshwater groups working in the Great Lakes. With this renewal, River Network will continue to provide a combination of individualized consultation, group training, regrants, and other forms of technical assistance to support watershed groups in the Great Lakes basin. The organization will also conduct regional research and analyses to understand the organizational needs of its members and partners.
Minnesota has almost 200 miles of shoreline along Lake Superior, with many more miles of waterfront along rivers that drain into the lake. These waterfront properties provide important ecological habitats and also attract vacationers, retirees, families, recreational users, and industries. The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, a statewide nonprofit environmental organization, seeks to balance these uses with the help of legal and scientific information. With previous Mott support, the center conducted technical reviews of proposals to mine sulfide-based ores, provided data and analysis to the agencies responsible for managing environmental risks, and helped build citizen awareness. With renewed support, the organization will continue to protect the Lake Superior basin by ensuring the state upholds Clean Water Act requirements and by helping improve wetlands policies, assisting municipalities in updating water protection practices, and helping stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The Great Lakes Compact, an interstate agreement, is intended to sharply limit the diversion of waters outside the Great Lakes basin and improve the management of water resources within the basin. The Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental organization with a strong regional presence in the Midwest, will provide tools and expertise at the regional and state levels to help implement the compact’s water conservation and efficiency elements.
From your perspective as a funder, how do you see the environmental movement changing and adapting?
With recent court decisions like Citizens United and dramatic changes in our political context, with the economic downturn and changing demographics, with the impacts of climate change and new pollutants being identified, old problem-solving approaches are no longer effective.
The environmental movement will need to be flexible and innovative in the coming years to maintain and expand environmental protections. I believe we craft the best solutions when we think in broader ways than we have in the past. Issues should no longer be considered solely in environmental, social or economic terms.
My role is to help environmental nonprofits build their organizational capacity, and connect with new allies, to find interconnected solutions to Great Lakes problems.
What gives you hope?
I know it may sound trite to say young people are our future, but I am truly hopeful about the next generation and its sophisticated understanding of environmental and social connections.
For full interview click here.
Every autumn, when cold air settles over the Great Lakes region, anglers from as far away as Europe and Asia make their way to a river in west Michigan to test their skill against powerful fish known affectionately as “silver bullets.”
The prized catch is steelhead and the Muskegon River is one of the best places in America to find them, according to biologists and experienced anglers. It’s a remarkable designation for a river that carried millions of logs to sawmills in the 19th century, only to become strangled by hydroelectric dams in the first decade of the 20th century.
Dams changed the Muskegon’s natural blueprint by creating new flow patterns, altering the movement of sediment and nutrients, raising the temperature of its water, reducing the amount of oxygen available to fish, creating artificial divisions in wildlife habitat and preventing fish in Lake Michigan from reaching 79 percent of the river that is upstream of the towering structures. The result: a vital ecosystem that was profoundly changed and put at risk of significant damage.
For full story click here.
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