The Great Lakes Protection Fund welcomes proposals for projects that enhance the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and will return the greatest ecosystem benefits. The Fund supports teams that are testing catalytic innovations—new ways of doing new things—that change how people and institutions interact with the Lakes for the better.

Emerging threats to the Great Lakes do not have a deadline, and neither do we. The Fund is open to project ideas and preproposals at any time.

The Fund does not have program areas, however, the Board of Directors has identified four areas where it believes there is significant opportunity for advancing the Governors’ priorities. Those areas are preventing biological pollution, restoring natural flow regimes, organizing markets to improve the environment, and providing leadership for ecosystem restoration. (To read more about the projects we have funded in these areas, please visit our Funded Projects section and choose the corresponding filter option.)

Process Overview

Start a conversation with Program staff about your idea or area of expertise.

Submit a preproposal.

  • Review and analysis by Fund staff; communication with applicant when necessary.
  • Projects and Grant Making Committee review; decision to invite a full proposal or decline support.

Submit a full proposal (when invited).

  • Review and analysis by Fund staff; communication with applicant when necessary.
  • Review and analysis by technical reviewers.

Revise full proposal based on input from Fund staff and technical reviewers.

  • Review and analysis by Fund staff.
  • Projects and Grant Making Committee review; recommendation to award funding or decline support.
  • Board of Directors final funding decision.

The Fund's Board of Directors makes award decisions at their March, June, September, and December meetings. A successful project can receive an award within six to eight months after submitting a preproposal. If support is needed sooner to take advantage of a special opportunity, please raise this when you contact the Fund to discuss your project.

The Fund can support specific projects through a grant, loan, program-related investment, or other financial mechanism. If you are interested in a funding plan other than a traditional grant, please contact Fund staff to discuss your idea.

The Fund tries to maintain an active working partnership with its grantees that may include site visits and regular communication (beyond formal reports) regarding the progress of the work. Successful applicants must maintain open access to certain project data, records, and information.

Applicants are urged to review the Fund's general funding guidelines, check the answers to frequently asked questions about the guidelines and application process, and contact the Fund's program staff to discuss their ideas prior to submitting a preproposal.  



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