Standing Up for the Great Lakes

FLOW in Focus: Great Lakes, Good Friends, and Strong Growth

Current Board
Gary Appel
Tom Baird
Mike Dettmer
Phil Ellis
Katie Horvath
Renee Huckle Mittelstaedt
Rick Kane
Emma Lui
Sarah Naperala
Bob Otwell
Skip Pruss
Royce Ragland
Keith Schneider
Kate Thornhill
Mike Vickery
Emily Wurth

Former Board
Ross Biederman
Lew Coulter
Ted Curran
Eric Olson
Rich Vanderveen

Current Staff
Liz Kirkwood,
Executive Director
Dave Dempsey,
Senior Advisor
Deirdre Ring-Marrinson,
Fund Development Specialist
Nayt Boyt,
Catalyst Coordinator

Former Staff
Claire Wood

Jim Olson, President, Founder, Policy Advisor
Kelly Thayer, Program Consultant

A special thank you to our amazing volunteers over the years who have made our public outreach and events possible. We would especially like to acknowledge and extend our heartfelt gratitude to our friends Cammie Buehler, Andrew Shudlich, Jeremy Turner, Jenny Turner and Jim Schuessler for their vision, tireless work and generous contributions to make FLOW’s first major ticketed event, An Evening for the Great Lakes, possible.

Jonathan Aylward
Nora Blanchard
Karl Boothman
Sierra Falconer
Brianna Kalush
Geoff Holstad
Joseph Kiessling
Blase Masserant
Meredith Murray

Dear Friends of FLOW,

Mike Dettmer,
Board Chair
Liz Kirkwood,
Executive Director

We are united by our passion for the Great Lakes and deep desire to protect these majestic waters for current and future generations to enjoy as a shared public resource.

Big problems afflicting the Great Lakes require FLOW’s bold legal and scientific solutions and fact-based advocacy. Private interests are pushing to build factory fish farms in our public waters, toxic algae threaten drinking water supplies and fish populations in Lake Erie, and aging underwater oil pipelines risk a catastrophic spill in the Mackinac Straits where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet.

FLOW’s answer to longstanding and emerging threats is to protect the Great Lakes as a public trust.

"It all begins with water – essential, irreplaceable, finite. Water is the source of life, and our Great Lakes are the greatest collection of fresh surface water on the planet."

Government officials are the public trustees. And citizens are the beneficiaries of our public waters and must demand accountability, transparency, and investment in meaningful long-term protection.

The public trust also is a remedy for unjust and irrational water policies. In Michigan, Nestlé pays a paltry $200 a year for a state permit to extract and bottle the public’s groundwater and reap millions of dollars in profit. Households in Detroit and Flint, meanwhile, cannot afford exorbitant water bills of $200 or more a month and suffer water shutoffs.  We will continue to collaborate with key stakeholders to assert our shared public trust rights to help address this inequity.

In the last two years, we have significantly increased our capacity, doubling our staff to four full-time employees and completing a new strategic plan with our board of directors. Our strong growth has allowed us to influence Great Lakes policies and legislation on numerous issues and reach thousands of citizens through presentations, publications, social media, and shared successes.

Along the way, we have forged strategic partnerships with diverse partners like the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign, Patagonia, Inc., the M-22 Challenge triathlon, and retailer Cherry Republic, to name a few.  And FLOW has become a go-to source on Great Lakes protection for news media including National Public Radio, the Christian Science Monitor, Detroit Free Press, Associated Press, and Reuters.

With your support, we have come a long way in a short time in defense of our shared waters.  With your continued support, we can overcome the growing threats and make the Great Lakes a stewardship model for the world.

Thanks for all you do!

Best regards,
Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director
Mike Dettmer, Board Chair