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.
We believe the need for clean, plentiful freshwater is one of this century’s greatest challenges. Securing sustainable levels of this precious resource to meet the needs of both people and nature — what we call the freshwater challenge — is a key focus of much of the Mott Foundation’s environmental grantmaking in the United States.
To that end, we’re working to help strengthen the community of nongovernmental organizations dedicated to the long-term conservation of freshwater ecosystems. We also seek to inform and advance well-designed and effectively implemented water-quality and water-quantity policies that conserve freshwater resources.
We place special emphasis on the Great Lakes region — not only because the shores of our home state of Michigan touch four of the five Great Lakes, but also because the Great Lakes are the single largest system of surface freshwater on Earth. As such, they affect the physical, social and economic well-being of tens of millions of people in and beyond the region.
Just over 90 local land trusts are active in the four southeastern ecoregions of interest to Mott's freshwater ecosystems grantmaking. With previous support, the Land Trust Alliance, a national provider of technical assistance to land trusts, has worked in the region to build land trust effectiveness, encourage strategic planning and partnerships, accelerate the pace of private land conservation, and help ensure the permanence of land conservation achievements. Renewal support will enable the alliance to continue this work with an emphasis on helping land trusts prepare for a new voluntary land trust accreditation process.
Ecojustice Canada is a national environmental organization that seeks to protect Great Lakes water quality through scientific and legal research, policy analyses, and public education. With prior Mott support, Ecojustice Canada helped inform the renegotiation of the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, engaged in binational discussions regarding the Asian Carp threat, and sought to reduce toxic freshwater pollutants. With renewed support, the organization will build on this work and continue to foster public support for addressing high-priority Great Lakes threats.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide environmental organization, leads efforts to protect and restore the Lake Erie ecosystem. The organization provides scientific, legal, and policy analyses and technical assistance to citizens, nonprofits, and decision makers. With prior Mott support, the council helped Ohio implement the Great Lakes Compact, engaged in statewide and regional efforts to prevent invasive species, and invested in its own organizational capacity. With this renewal, the organization will continue these efforts while also focusing on reducing pollutants into Lake Erie waterways.
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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