I would like to share with you news of $5.5 million in grants approved by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation at its board meeting earlier this week.
In the aftermath of the recent flooding in southeast Michigan, and in anticipation of more frequent, intense storms due to our changing climate, much has been written about the potential role of green infrastructure in helping lessen the load on our aging storm water infrastructure. Green infrastructure can also help eliminate untreated sewage discharges into the Detroit River while beautifying vacant land in the city. Four grants will promote blue/green infrastructure in various ways, including two that incorporate the arts.
And as the US EPA prepares to announce the new five-year Action Plan for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, we approved the third year of a three-year, $4.5 million grant to the UM Water Center to continue to support research and other efforts to inform Great Lakes policy and management decisions. In its first two years, the Water Center has awarded more than $5.7 million in grants to 37 projects throughout the bi-national Great Lakes basin to help fill priority knowledge gaps in the GLRI. Working with the EPA, its Science Advisory Board, Great Lakes Advisory Board, and others, the Center has also helped assure a new science-based adaptive management approach in the GLRI Action Plan II.
Finally, as the arts are an essential element of a vibrant city and region, the Foundation renewed its Anchor Arts program, supporting 38 cultural organizations. This includes $1,450,000 over two years for operating support for eight large organizations that historically were supported by Fred and Barbara Erb and $1,120,000 over two years for 30 additional organizations located in the City of Detroit.
In addition to approving these and six other grants, the Foundation:
Concluded a nine-month strategic planning process facilitated by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, with the assistance of ConservationStrategy LLC, that included 30 interviews and listening sessions covering 70 people and 40 organizations, as well as a survey of nearly 100 grantees. Later this year, we will announce our new Grant Guidelines and Strategies. As you will see, these will build on lessons learned as well as new needs and opportunities that have emerged over the past five years, and will affirm and deepen our current Mission as our annual grants budget grows from $5 million to $14 million.
Elected a new trustee, Dr. Neil C. Hawkins, Corporate Vice President of Sustainability for The Dow Chemical Company. Dr. Hawkins is a member of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise Advisory Board and co-chairs its Strategic Advisory Council, and was able to join us for this important meeting. Please click here for his complete bio.
Please click here for our complete grants list.
The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation’s mission is to nurture environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metro Detroit, and support initiatives to restore the Great Lakes basin. The Foundation is focused on improving water quality, especially in the watersheds impacting metro Detroit and Bayfield, Ontario; promoting environmental health and justice; and supporting the arts as a means to strengthen the metropolitan Detroit region. For more information, please visit erbff.org
Thank you for your continuing interest,
John M. Erb, President