09/26/2019- 27 Community Foundations throughout the Great Lakes basin are coming together with a common goal of discovering new and innovative ways of protecting freshwater resources while keeping an eye towards how those resources could play into future development. It’s all part of the Great Lakes One Water Partnership which creates regional teams of community foundations who will work collaboratively in this basin-wide effort to advance a new era of water management practices. The M&M Area Community Foundation is part of this initiative as a member of the Lake Superior/ UP Regional Team and Brad Neumann, Regional Team Leader, says with changing climate trends, shoreline communities cannot continue to ignore the growing challenges they’re up against.
“Our regional team has prepared a plan that we’re calling the Resilient Future Project and it seeks to build a network, a cadre, of committed community and civic leaders that will help to advance this vision for a new water management infrastructure approach to things.”
Jon Allan, Former Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, says while community foundations are spearheading the efforts, it will take coordination, planning, and buy-in from all residents and civic leaders to effectively manage the health and sustainability of water resources.
“The world doesn’t know what we have yet and if we aren’t the stewards of this, that’s a problem. Part of  that is this conversation here in this community and other communities sponsored by some really thoughtful people in these foundations, put together by a really thoughtful team. And all they’re trying to do is say ‘What do you want your relationship to your river and your lake to be?'”
While the six regional teams have been working on their individual initiatives for some time now, the first meeting of all 27 community foundations involved in the Great Lakes One Water partnership will be held next month. The project was initially funded with a one million dollar investment from the Great Lakes Protection Fund and has received additional support from the Ralph C Wilson Jr Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.