The Gift of Grants

The Gift of Grants

by Becca Turner

I’m looking at a stack of grant reports to be read on my desk. They are just waiting to be opened, read, and closed. I like to think of reading these reports like opening presents— I find it the most rewarding part of my job at Freshwater Future. Yes, I’ll admit, during application time things get hectic making sure each applicant submitted the correct form, included all the right attachments, making their application complete. Sometimes it makes my head spin. But the spinning is all worth it when I look at that stack of grant reports. They are filled with commentaries from organizations, reporting on everything they were able to accomplish with our funds. They detail how the money was spent, how the funds helped build the capacity of the organization, how the funds helped them make a real difference in their communities.

The sums of money we give to grant recipients may seem small in comparison to things like government grants. Project Grants can be funded up to $3500 and Climate Grants to $5,000. When you think of the amount of staff or volunteer time that accompany the supplies
and fees these funds help cover, I’m continually in awe of the capacity of our network. Two Rivers Coalition routinely reaches over 80 citizens at the climate change talks they host. Root Pike WIN’s rain garden grant program has helped fund over 100 rain gardens. The Waukegan Harbor Area of Concern has not lost hope in their fight to delist the site as being an AOC, something that is targeted in 2014 after over 20 years of hard work. Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources was able to assist their efforts in trying to stop the expansion of a quarry.And that’s just a few of our recent grant recipients.

What I love about this process is how many hands have helped create positive change for our Great Lakes waters with these grants. Freshwater Future wouldn’t be able to provide this critical funding without the support of our donors. Our donors help sustain our grant programs so these amazing groups can continue to astound us with their efforts.

Thank you donors for all you contribute. Your donations are helping organizations
throughout the basin ensure a healthy future for our Great Lakes.



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