Seven of the Great Lakes states have provided one-time contributions to the endowment totaling $81 million. The Fund receives no ongoing government support. Their membership contributions are proportional to each state’s usage of Great Lakes waters:
Illinois - $15,000,000
Michigan - $25,000,000
Minnesota - $1,500,000
New York - $12,000,000
Ohio - $14,000,000
Pennsylvania - $1,500,000
Wisconsin - $12,000,000
The states’ contributions are invested to produce income and to maintain the permanent endowment’s buying power over time. The Fund’s Board of Directors is prohibited from spending any of the states’ funds, and can only use or spend funds that it earns by prudent investment of the original one-time public contribution.
Two-thirds of the Fund’s net income is dedicated to regional projects and teams that produce tangible improvements to the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem. The remaining one-third must be returned annually to the member states, in proportion to their original contribution, for each state’s discretionary Great Lakes priorities.
The states thus receive two distinct types of return on their original investment: the benefits of the corporation’s financial support of regional project teams, and an annual discretionary income stream in cash. The Board of Directors has committed investment earnings of over $66.1 million to regional project teams, and the State Share payback mechanism has resulted in the return of over $41 million back to the states.
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