This has been a year of change, growth, and adaptation. WMEAC introduced new programs like Zero Waste in Landfill, started new partnerships with ArtPrize and the City of Grand Rapids, and created deeper connections with lakeshore communities. This growth will continue into 2018 as we address the new challenges of climate change in an era without national leadership on the issue. This means we will need our local community organizations more than ever, even as federal grant funds continue to shrink.
We see WMEAC as a partner in every community we meet with, addressing the needs of those with the knowledge of their unique issues while bringing our own unique expertise. We have done this in 2017 with our Rainwater Rewards stormwater calculator, with our partnership with Seeds of Promise on Grand Rapids Southeast side, and our lakeshore growth in Spring Lake, Grand Haven, and Muskegon. If 2017 was about creating partnerships, 2018 will be about creating impact through those partnerships. We’ll look to you, our members, partners and community leaders to help ensure our efforts are guided, and our impact is lasting. You have pushed us over the years to also look internally – you challenged us to divest from fossil fuel investments by 2020, and we are proud to announce we are already under 3% by mid-2017. These challenges keep us looking forward and keep hold our team accountable, and we excited to by your progressive vision. Thanks for a great first year as WMEAC’s Executive Director; I’m looking forward to seeing this success continue to grow.
Bill Wood, WMEAC Executive DIrector
WMEAC is as committed as ever to bring environmental education to classrooms across the region.We were able to reach over 2,500 students at 29 schools across 4 school districts in 3 counties! In those classrooms and outside in the streams we were able to teach about protecting their watershed, reducing waste in schools and at home, as well as energy production and reduction.In all, we’ve been able to expand our programming by introducing new topics and working to ensure all students have access to quality environmental education.
WMEAC’s water team has remained focused on protecting Lake Michigan and our nearby rivers and streams from stormwater runoff by piloting the Rainwater Rewards stormwater calculator. This calculator helps communities and developers understand the full value of stormwater investments so they can choose the best projects.We’ve been able to present this tool to over a dozen communities across the region and will be able to begin seeing the impact of the tool in cities like Grand Rapids, MI, Michigan City, IN, and Mequon, WI.
Membership has continued to grow across individual and sustaining members and business members. WMEAC membership is fundamental in supporting our programs and members are instrumental in helping us steer our mission.
WMEAC By the Numbers
WMEAC had a year of growth with program expansion but ended the year with a dip in our net assets. Working with the board WMEAC was able to pull funds from the endowment to ensure stable footing and future growth into 2018.
Fossil Fuel Divestment
WMEAC pledged to divest 100% from fossil fuel stocks by 2020. We are well ahead of that goal already in 2017, with only 3% still invested. We continue to work toward that 0% goal.
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Founded by a diverse group of concerned citizens and organizational stakeholders, WMEAC is a 501C3 non-profit organization uniquely positioned to respond to emerging issues and new threats to West Michigan’s natural and human ecologies, focused on Building Sustainable Communities and Protecting Water Resources.