Freshwater Future

Ensuring the Healthy Future of Our Waters

aka Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund Inc.   |   Petoskey, MI   |  www.freshwaterfuture.org

Mission

Mission: To ensure the healthy future of our waters in the Great Lakes region. Vision: A strong and effective environmental community working to protect and restore the Great Lakes and its many waters by involving residents in civic decision-making. This community will be coordinated among citizens, community groups, state/provincial, regional and national groups in a way that creates synergy for the protection and restoration of our Great Lakes region. A healthy Great Lakes ecosystem that supports the economic well-being of the people of the region, provides a sustainable supply of clean drinking water, a sustainable fishery that provides fish that are healthy to eat and clean beaches where it is safe to swim.

Ruling year info

2007

Executive Director

Ms. Jill Ryan

Main address

PO Box 2479

Petoskey, MI 49770 USA

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Formerly known as

Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund

EIN

20-5693503

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Management & Technical Assistance (C02)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (C12)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Great Lakes hold 20% of the Earth's surface freshwater. The eight states and one Canadian province that border the Great Lakes contain an abundance of inland lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, groundwater and shorelines that are a part of our Great Lakes ecosystems. These waters provide drinking water for 40 million people. The lakes support a number of industries including boating valued at $16 billion, hunting and wildlife observation at $18 billion and fishing at $7 billion, all annually.

These waters are at risk from a number of threats including toxic contamination, introduction and spread of invasive species such as Asian carp, nutrient pollution that contributes to toxic harmful algal blooms, aging water infrastructure that impacts drinking water and sewage overflows into surface waters.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Grants

Grant funding is provided to community groups throughout the Great Lakes basin to assist with their river, lake and wetland protection projects, projects to prepare communities for the impacts of climate change and to help groups grow their capacity.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Individual assistance is provided to groups working on local wetland, river and lake issues, climate change issues and Great Lakes restoration.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Ensuring local, state and national policies are protective of water resources in the Great Lakes basin.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples, Multiracial people, People of African descent, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Grants

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of Great Lakes grassroots groups receiving grant funds from inception of program through 2021.

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples, Multiracial people, People of African descent, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Grants

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total amount of grant dollars awarded from program inception through 2021 to grassroots groups working in the Great Lakes Region.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Freshwater Future works to ensure the healthy future of our waters in the Great Lakes region. We are a catalyst for community action that strengthens policies designed to safeguard the waters of the Great Lakes region.

We envision the waters of the Great Lakes region are healthy and provide safe drinking water, beaches for swimming, and fish that are safe to eat, because communities are engaged in caring for their own waters.

We help create and strengthen community action on water by providing grants and professional development services to over 2,000 community groups working on local issues impacting their water. Through this engagement with groups, we learn of and track emerging issues that impact many communities in the region, and are able to synthesize those concerns into strategic policy solutions. We elevate voices of many communities to the state, provincial and federal level where policy change happens.

Grow - Increase the strength and effectiveness of organizations dedicated to protecting and restoring our waters.
The more than 2,000 groups that we work and communicate with regularly vary in size and scope of work, but one thing most have in common is that they would like to grow their capacity and effectiveness. To accomplish this, we utilize over 120 years of collective nonprofit and water protection experience of our staff to provide assistance to these groups on topics such as board development, fundraising training, planning, communications, data management, financial management and more.

Support - Improve the ability of communities to carry-out water protection and restoration projects by filling gaps in financial resources and policy solutions.
Community-based groups often have the local knowledge and passion to protect their waters in ways that distant organizations, agencies, and governments cannot. In order to succeed when threats or opportunities arise, these groups often need financial resources and assistance with understanding the legal and policy landscape of their issue. Freshwater Future provides these resources through our grants programs, information about other sources of funding, and by bringing those local concerns to policy discussions and decision-makers.

Connect - Deepen connections and information sharing between organizations working around similar geographies and key issues.
The multitude of groups working to protect water resources in the region shows the importance of these issues to residents. These groups also cover specific geographic areas, water bodies, and issues impacting water that are important to ensuring the future health of the region. However, this strength has not yet been fully realized due to the difficulty of coordinating among such a wide variety of groups. To meet this need, Freshwater Future has helped to create and lead the Great Lakes Network as a coordination and collaboration tool to organize efforts across the region. We will continue to utilize the network as a way to focus and grow the strength of the many groups in the region.
Thrive - Increase the sustainability of Freshwater Future and its mission related programs.
Freshwater Future has grown in a variety of ways over the last 10-years, including a fourfold increase in our budget and staff size, successful new programs like the Great Lakes Network, four new granting programs, and expanding our work bi-nationally by creating our sister organization, Freshwater Future Canada, a Canadian charity. This growth has required an entrepreneurial spirit, board and funder engagement, and outstanding constituent participation. We view the next five years as an opportunity to continue to grow through internal analysis and by following procedures, policies, and practices to ensure success as we respond to new program needs, changes in the world, staff and board transitions, and financial opportunities that arise.

Freshwater Future is a collaborative and entrepreneurial organization that seeks perspective from diverse communities and individuals, builds partnerships and collaborations, works to ensure equity in the solutions we advocate, and values residents' knowledge and abilities in our work to protect and restore the health of the Great Lakes for current and future generations. The waters of the region that define our sense of place include the five Great Lakes, but also include the critical connecting waters such as inland lakes, rivers, wetlands and groundwater. We have a highly qualified staff that work in both the US and Canada, bringing over 120 years of experience. We have worked with over 2,000 organizations and are seen as a trusted and respected partner.

For over 25 years, Freshwater Future has provided funding, professional development, and a rich network of support to citizens' groups in communities across the Great Lakes region.
Freshwater Future has provided over $4,500,000 in funding through more than 1,200 grants for work in both the United States and Canada to protect the health of our waters. As a result, Freshwater Future grantees and partners have protected thousands of acres of wetlands from imminent destruction, restored thousands of feet of shoreline along rivers and lakes, and made communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Equally as important, our grantees have achieved these results through deep engagement in the democratic process, strengthening community bonds along the way.
We champion the causes of communities and have taken leadership roles in coordinating on issues such as stopping Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, securing over $2 billion for Great Lakes restoration activities, and passing the Great Lakes Compact to prevent diversions of Great Lakes water.

Freshwater Future will continue to implement our programs that are helping to build--
A strong and effective environmental community working to protect and restore the Great Lakes and its many waters;
Ensure our work is informed by the diversity of residents in the region, works toward equity of outcomes across that diversity of residents;
Coordinated initiatives on critical restoration and protection issues among groups that result in effective solutions to the complex problems impacting water; and
Residents empowered to participate in civic decision-making about their own water resources.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve both communities and individuals in the Great Lakes region engaged in water resource and protection efforts.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Freshwater Future
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Freshwater Future

Board of directors
as of 1/20/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Stephanie Smith

Zephyr Mangata Consulting

Term: 2019 - 2022


Board co-chair

Adam Parker

Great Lakes Resident

Term: 2019 - 2022

Lindsay Telfer

Canadian Freshwater Alliance

Karen Reinbold

Great Lakes Resident

Adam Parker

Great Lakes Resident

Melanie Welch

Great Lakes Resident

Trent Stark

Great Lakes Resident

Tom Knott

Great Lakes Resident

Donald Wiggins Jr

Great Lakes Resident

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/20/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/11/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.