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Great Lakes Funding

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Great Lakes Project Funding Sources

Funding may be available for your project. Many local, state, and federal agencies offer funding to community organizations, neighborhood groups, homeowners, and others. Navigating the funding process is not easy. Here are some resources to get you started. When speaking with representatives from one funding source or non-profit organization, make sure to ask for other recommendations and potential funding sources. Network!



Federal Government Grants

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds projects in the Great Lakes that restore Areas of Concern, combat invasive species, address nonpoint source pollution, and restore habitat and fish and wildlife species.

NOAA’s Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Regional Partnership Grants will establish new regional habitat restoration partnerships and will provide funding for restoration activities in the Great Lakes.

NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management offers multiple funding opportunities for coastal restoration and resilience.

US EPA’s Environmental Education Grants Program provides funding to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment.

US EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Program—The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues. The program is designed to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. Environmental Justice Small Grants fund projects up to $30,000, depending on the availability of funds in a given year.

US Fish and Wildlife Service offers many grants for coastal restoration projects. is a searchable database of federal grant opportunities. It also provides information on how to apply for grants and the grant-making process.

Call your Congressional Representatives and Senators to ask about federal funding.

State Government Grants & Funding

Some local governments have funding programs for community-based environmental projects. To find your local government, use search terms such as “invasive species grant program,” ”nuisance aquatic species funding,” or something similar with your state or county’s name. Here are some sources, but there are more available:

Check with the Sea Grant programs in your coastal area. They are often associated with a university and often offer small grants for research or monitoring projects.

Indiana DNR, Lake and River Enhancement Program Grants (Indiana only, aquatic species only)

Iowa DNR, Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program Grants (Iowa only, outreach and education activities only)

Iowa DRN, Wildlife Diversity Program Grants (Iowa only)

Michigan DNR, Invasive Species Grant Program (Michigan only)

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, CWMA Program (Minnesota only)

Minnesota DNR, Aquatic Invasive Species Grant Program (Minnesota only, aquatic species only)

Wisconsin DNR offers many grants including protecting lakes and rivers, invasive species control, and wildlife conservation.

Local Government Grants & Funding

To find your local, state, or tribal governments, type the following into a search engine: your state/county and then the type of agency you are wanting to connect with (e.g. local government, tribal representative, state government). For example, search for “Alabama beach restoration permitting” or “New Jersey environmental protection.” Also, try using terms that relate to your concern or solution. For example, “Florida coastal flooding help.”  Try different terms, or combinations of, terms, such as “grants, restoration, invasive species, marsh, natural resources, volunteers, funding, etc.” It may take a few tries to find the site and information you are looking for.

To find a specific local county office, type the following into a search engine: your local county or city and then the department you are wanting to connect with (e.g. environmental, planning, natural resources). For example, search for  “Escambia County coastal management” or  “Destin FL natural resources.”

Conservation Districts  work directly with landowners to conserve and promote healthy soils, water, forests and wildlife.

Extension Offices work closely with university-based Extension specialists to deliver answers to your questions about gardening, agriculture, and pest control.

Foundations and Other Private Sources

Capital Mohawk Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management grants for New York

Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Chicago Regional Land Conservation Grants (northeastern Illinois only)

Great Lakes Fishery Commission provides funding to further the research and control of sea lampreys.

Laura Jane Musser Fund’s Environmental Initiative Program promotes public use of open space that improves a community’s quality of life and public health, while ensuring the protection of healthy, viable and sustainable ecosystems by protecting or restoring habitat for a diversity of plant and animal species.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Sustain Our Great Lakes Grant provides funding to improve and enhance 1) stream and riparian habitat; 2) coastal wetland habitat; and 3) water quality in the Great Lakes and its tributaries.  NFWF also administers many other competitive grants to protect and conserve our nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats.

Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, C.D. Besadny Conservation Grants (Wisconsin only)

North Central Integrated Pest Management Center (Midwestern States only)

Sustain Our Great Lakes, Grant Program (Great Lakes Basin only)

Foundation Directory Online, from the Foundation Center, lists 140,000 foundations and other donors worldwide. Some basic information is free; more requires a subscription. Get access at your local library.

NOZAsearch has a large searchable database of charitable donations. Searches for foundation are free. Individual and corporate philanthropy searches require a subscription. Get access at your local library.

Contact local banks, businesses, and community foundations. Many have money budgeted for community service.

Consider crowdfunding through social media, individual donations from members of your organization, or a special event.

How to write a successful funding proposal

Grantspace, a service of Foundation Center, offers in-person and online classes on finding and writing grants, a knowledge base, examples of winning proposals and other documents, and more.

The Grantsmanship Center offers training and resources to help find grants and write effective grant proposals.

Classes. Many community colleges and universities offer classes on grant writing. Check the catalogs and academic schedules for your local schools.

Books. There are many books on grant writing. Check out your local library to see what might be available.

Great Lakes Project Resources:

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