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.
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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.
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.
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The Georgia Wildlife Federation, the oldest member-supported conservation organization in Georgia, helps coordinate a network of groups seeking to influence the implementation of Georgia's statewide water management plan. The federation provides technical assistance to partner groups, convenes and facilitates network meetings, and engages directly on water management policy issues. With a two-year grant renewal, the federation will continue to promote and implement conservation-based approaches to water management.
Based in Atlanta, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper is a leader at the local, state, and regional levels on water management policy reform efforts. With prior Mott support, the riverkeeper has promoted sustainable water policies and programs that ensure adequate supplies of clean water for people and nature. Over the next two years, the riverkeeper will continue to engage in such work with a focus on advancing water conservation and efficiency, monitoring proposed water supply projects, and promoting healthy ecological river flows.
A number of factors put the health of Georgia’s rivers at risk, including growing water demands throughout the state and the Atlanta metro area in particular. The Georgia River Network, a statewide organization serving the needs of Georgia’s river groups, will participate in, and lead efforts to, positively influence the outcome of water management policy discussions at the metro, state, and interstate levels. This will include leadership roles in two coalitions working on such issues, one at the state level and the other at the interstate level. The network will promote water conservation and water use efficiency as a fiscally prudent and environmentally sustainable way to address the state’s water supply needs.
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