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Water First Coalition Seeks Action Team Applications

NORTHWEST LOWER, MI – A regional coalition called Water First is looking for local partners to apply to establish Water First Action Teams as part of a collaborative effort to support communities in protecting our region’s fresh water resources. This effort will focus on the development of innovative water policies and green infrastructure in the eight counties served by the participating community foundations.

The Water First Coalition includes the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Leelanau Township Community Foundation, Manistee County Community Foundation, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, and is managed by Networks Northwest.

“Our work is part of a larger Great Lakes One Water Partnership supported by the Council of Michigan Foundations and the Great Lakes Protection Fund,” said Steve Wade, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation vice president of gift planning. “We are focused on supporting decision-making processes that emphasize water as a first priority in local policies, programs, and projects.”

Water First Action Teams will be organized in communities or sub-regions around adopted watershed plans. Teams are envisioned to include multiple jurisdictions, organizations, and regional representatives.

 “The goals of the teams – and of this effort – are simple. We aim to improve literacy, understanding, and prioritizing green infrastructure and support implementation of green infrastructure projects and policies,” said Wade.

Wade added that through the funding provided by the Great Lakes One Water Partnership, the community foundation and coalition partners are able to offer technical support to the action teams, including incentives for local action and grants for implementation.

To learn more and apply to establish a Water First Action Team, contact Kathy Egan at Networks Northwest: or 231-929-5057. Applications are due by 5:00 pm on August 16, 2019.

The Great Lakes One Water Partnership is a multi-year initiative focused on engaging shoreline community foundations to advance a new era of water management to benefit people and businesses in the Great Lakes Basin. A project team, led by the Council of Michigan Foundations, is partnering with coalitions of community foundations throughout the Great Lakes basin over a four-year period to inject financial and intellectual capital, drive technology innovation, and create a shared, basin-wide communications strategy for the Great Lakes that will build the public will for support and advancement of new solutions.

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