Addressing the Freshwater Challenge

We support efforts to secure sustainable levels of clean water for people and the environment, particularly in the Great Lakes basin.

A boy throws a rock into the water while standing on a beach. A row of scrubby pines is in the background.

How it Works

We work to ensure long-term conservation of freshwater ecosystems by strengthening the environmental community and informing the development of water policy.

A small sturgeon looks like a watercolor in a close-up image photographed through the water.

Securing enough clean water to support people and the environment presents what we call the Freshwater Challenge. In areas where freshwater is relatively abundant, the challenge often involves protecting and restoring existing supplies. In other places, it also requires more efficient use of a scarce resource.

Our grantmaking has two objectives: strengthen the environmental community and inform the development of water quality and water quantity policies. In the Great Lakes region, where most of our freshwater grantmaking is concentrated, we seek a strong, effective and sustainable community of non-governmental organizations dedicated to the long-term conservation of freshwater ecosystems.

Strengthening the Environmental Community

We make grants to:

  • Key organizations active in freshwater issues, particularly state-level groups, to build their organizational capacity and coordinate efforts.
  • Intermediary organizations that help build the capacity of nonprofits and leaders working to conserve freshwater ecosystems.
  • Regional and national organizations developing the field of freshwater conservation by sharing lessons learned in the Great Lakes and other regions of interest to Mott.

Informing Sound Public Policies

We also seek well-designed and effectively implemented policies that advance the conservation of freshwater ecosystems.

We make grants to:

  • Groups working at the state and local levels on select policy reform efforts.
  • Regional and national groups that provide assistance to state and local groups engaged in the same policy issues.


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