From the Executive Director...
April 8, 2014
Phil Ellis, Ph.D., Exeuctive Director
We received a call from the Mott Foundation recently with a request to provide feedback on the impact of an effort – the “Great Lakes Community Foundation Environmental Collaborative” - they supported in the 1990s that included 38 community foundations, including us. The goal of the Mott Foundation was to engage community foundations, in areas with Great Lakes’ shoreline, in developing more commitment and involvement with environmental concerns, both at that time and with an eye to the future.
The questions from the current Mott staff member were about the impact of that effort and whether additional initiatives might have been inspired from that encouragement more than 20 years ago?
Could you answer that question?! I couldn’t! But with a little digging, I began to thread together a story of Community Impact.
Let’s look at what has happened with our Community Foundation in the area of environmental efforts since 1993…
We have 35+ funds that support environmental causes in part or in whole. Of these, 29 are endowments. These endowments are designated to support a variety of causes and organizations including outdoor recreation on the TART Trails and the Betsie Valley Trail; environmental education through the Au Sauble Great Lakes Community Schools Endowment, three endowments to support Inland Seas Education Association, and the John Barnes Environmental Education Endowments; protection and conservation efforts on Clam Lake, Lake Bellaire, Torch Lake, Glen Lake, Long Lake and others; designated endowments to support our Conservancies; and ongoing support for natural areas such as Railroad Point and Elberta Dunes. The Mott Foundation’s commitment to our corner of the state extends, too, as they supported the Antrim Creek Natural Area Endowment and the Land Use Conservation Planning Endowment. In addition to these, and other, endowments, we also support with grants a number of efforts that are deeply connected to environmental and watershed initiatives such as the Conservation Resource Alliance, The Watershed Center, the Boardman Prosperity Plan, the Bayfront efforts at Clinch Park, and so on.
So, the answer to the Mott Foundation is a resounding YES - the effort to engage and inspire OUR Community Foundation was remarkably successful.
This story is a resounding example of the potential for and demonstration of Community Impact through our Community Foundation. This story also reflects a commitment in perpetuity. Generations from now, we’ll still be engaged in these and many other initiatives and efforts to protect and enhance our treasured natural resources.
Thanks for asking, Mott Foundation – yep, we have continued in support of environmental efforts in our region and are partnering with so many wonderful organizations in our region to create a legacy of stewardship over these environmental resources for generations to come.