Planning for Our Freshwater Future

Planning for Our Freshwater Future

As you may know, Freshwater Future has been engaged in a strategic planning process over the past few months. Over 400 of you provided input to that process by completing an interview or survey—thank you, your ideas are so important to us! Our board and staff recently utilized a weekend retreat to spend time discussing how we can incorporate your thoughts and ideas into our new plan.

Staff photoWhile we still have some work to do to finish the plan, we want to give you an update and an exclusive preview here. One message that came through loud and clear from your comments is that the three existing areas of focus for our work are all important to you, reinforcing our role in the Great Lakes. However, we also heard that we don’t always do the best job of explaining those three work areas and the impacts that result from them. As a result, we developed a new impact model that explains how our different areas of work are not silos, but rather complement each other and provide synergies among the areas.

This is where the preview comes in. And, we want you to tell us what you think—we would love to hear whether you think this is a good way to explain our work, better ideas that you may have for explaining it, or tweaks to make it better. Just e-mail us at

Freshwater Future Impact Model

FWF_16_2_MODELFreshwater Future helps create and strengthen community action on water issues through our grants programs. Through these grants community groups work on local issues impacting their water. We often learn of emerging issues that impact more than one community through these action projects.

Based on what we learn from local efforts, we then can provide tactical responses to community needs utilizing our coaching and training services. Building campaign strategies, growing organizational abilities and strengthening leaders ensures that community groups can thrive and their projects can succeed. As we partner with local communities and help to build organizations and projects, we are also able to synthesize common concerns that impact multiple groups’ abilities to succeed.

These common concerns can then be addressed through strategic policy, thereby eliminating the need for multiple communities to work on the same issue. Once policy solutions are in place, they of course have to be enforced and there has to be accountability for that enforcement. This brings us full circle back to communities who now have the policy solution they need and are present and passionate in their communities to ensure follow-through.

In addition to the impact model, we are busy drafting the new strategic plan, which we will share with you in the coming months. We appreciate all of your input that will make this plan and our work stronger and more sustainable, and we look forward to continuing to partner with your important efforts!

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.