Wave splashing in the lake with Chicago skyline in the background


We believe it is critical to protect and restore the Great Lakes and take bold action to avert the catastrophic risks from climate change for generations to come.

Our environmental grantmaking strategy encompasses two Lead Pursuits: the Great Lakes and Climate. Both intersect powerfully in the Midwest, which is home to one-fifth of the world’s surface freshwater and the source of roughly 30% of U.S. climate-warming gases.

Elevate Energy staff members standing outside for an activist gathering with signs that read "Climate Action Now"
Image courtesy of Elevate Energy.


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Improving Water Quality

Investing in solutions that reduce water pollution threats from wastewater treatment, stormwater management, industrial activity, and agricultural runoff.

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Protecting Habitat

Investing in conservation programs that plan, fund, and implement protection and restoration in high-priority Lake Michigan watershed locations.

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Advancing Great Lakes Policy

Advocating for increased funding and stronger regulations for the Great Lakes at the federal, state, and local level.

CLIMATE Focus Areas

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Clean & Efficient Energy

Reducing emissions from the use of fossil fuels by investing in the just transition to clean energy and increasing energy efficiency in buildings.

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Agriculture & Food

Minimizing emissions from the agricultural and food systems by reducing food waste and improving farming practices.

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Climate & Environmental Justice

Investing in the capacity of environmental and climate justice efforts to achieve more equitable environmental outcomes that benefit all people.

Closeup of outdoor water fountain with water bubbling out, with bikers riding along the lakefront in the background
Image by Lloyd Degrane, courtesy of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Additional Commitments

Through the Environment portfolio, we also maintain commitments supporting environmental conservation and action in and around Chicago as well as forest health and wildfire prevention work in the Western United States related to improving water quality.

Satellite view of the midwest portion of the United States