OVERVIEW: This large, national foundation devotes a significant portion of its environmental funding to freshwater ecosystems. Grants support the protection of specific places, policy making, and movement building.
IP TAKE: Mott seeks opportunities to guide policy making and render conservation a higher priority in state and national politics.
PROFILE: Formed in Michigan in the 1920s by a General Motors tycoon, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation retains deep ties to the Midwest and to the treasured, but troubled Great Lakes. Mott seeks to support efforts that "promote a just, equitable and sustainable society." It invests in Civil Society, Education, the Flint area, and the Environment.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation invests in water conservation through its Environment, and to a lesser extent, its Flint programs. Indeed, Mott has invested over $51 million to address the Flint water crisis. In contrast, Mott's Environment program reflects a variety of priorities; among them is a subprogram focus on water conservation. The Conservation of Freshwater Ecosystems program, one of three subprograms within the Environment program, funds "work to ensure long-term conservation of freshwater ecosystems by strengthening the environmental community and informing the development of water policy." The Freshwater program supports capacity building, education, policy work, and projects directly working towards water conservation.
While Mott has expanded its water conservation outreach across the U.S., it emphasizes grantmaking to the Great Lakes region. According to the Mott Foundation, "[it is] in the process of reducing [its] grantmaking in the Southeast in order to sustain [its] freshwater grantmaking in [its] home region of the Great Lakes." Candidates may submit proposals and formal application packets at any time throughout the year.
Mott is fairly consistent about supporting efforts that involve local, state, or national lawmakers. Mott also priorities partnerships between local community engagement and interested groups. Grantseekers can access its excellent interactive grantee database here to learn about past and current grantees.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation does accept unsolicited proposals, but instead prefers letters of inquiry submitted first on its website. Grantseekers should expect a reply within two to three weeks after submission.
- Samuel B. Passmore, Program Director