by Melanie Welch
I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary with Freshwater Future in April. During this first year, I did what all people do when starting a new job-I found myself climbing the learning curve, asking lots of questions and learning from my mistakes. I have enjoyed every minute as a part of the Freshwater Future team, and am proud to provide support to the great work that our organizational members do.
During this first year, I spent a lot of time thinking about Freshwater Future and what we do. How do I explain it to people if I have 15 minutes? Five minutes? Thirty seconds? I’ve been working on boiling our organization down to its essence, and I think I’ve hit on it.
Freshwater Future works as a Movement-Builder-we work on both policy and capacity-building for the Great Lakes region. We specialize in the needs of grassroots and citizens groups, providing personalized services that tailor-fit the needs of each group; provide unique, and much needed, grant funding opportunities to these groups for grassroots environmental advocacy work; and connect these groups and efforts to policy issues we’re engaged in, as we understand Great Lakes issues like no other support-provider.
Freshwater Future is engaged in this critical work because we are dedicated to the belief that individuals can, and do, make a difference in their communities every day. Grassroots groups are the sentinels, sounding the alarm, and they need support. They have a lot of passion and local knowledge, and Freshwater Future is able to assist them with financial resources, strategy, implementation and policy knowledge. The more presentations I give, people I meet and reports I write, the more I get to practice my “elevator speech.” It’s very fulfilling to work at an organization like Freshwater Future, and I am proud of the accomplishments of our organizational members. What a joy it is to share your success.