The Wege Foundation, founded by the Grand Rapids philanthropist Peter Wege, has announced that for the next five years they will continue to support the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition with a $2.5 million grant. Wege’s support of the Coalition dates back to 2004 when The Wege Foundation offered a $5 million grant over the course of 5 years. Environmental action has always been a main component of the foundation. “Trustees are impressed by the collaborative support of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and related Great Lakes work from so many other foundations in the region,” Ellen Satterlee, CEO of the Wege Foundation.
The Coalition spreads across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with 120 member organizations, which include organizations, museums and zoos focused on the environment and conservation. This cooperation and commitment has helped form a Great Lakes restoration plan and attain federal funding, which the Obama Administration has already implemented.
“We all have a responsibility to be strong stewards of this global resource…more than 30 million people depend on them for drinking water,” said John Jackson, interim executive director, Great Lakes United, and a co-chair of the Coalition. Nearly 20% of the world’s source of fresh water comes from the Great Lakes. The resource is not only detrimental to the environment, but the economy, as well. For every $1 invested in Great Lakes restoration, at least $2 will be creates in new jobs, increased property values, and development, according to a Brookings Institution report.
According to Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of Alliance for the Great Lakes, and a co-chair of the Coalition, there is still much work to do in the restoration of the Great Lakes, but “The ongoing support from Peter Wege and The Wege Foundation will help ensure that restoration efforts do not falter.”