FLOW’s 2021 Annual Report


With Gratitude: Celebrating 10 Years of Keeping Water Public and Protected with You

This past year marked an extraordinary year for FLOW, as we celebrated a decade of keeping our water public and protected. In reflecting upon this past decade, we have much to be grateful for, even in these challenging times.  

First and foremost, we are thankful for you, who have made our work possible year after year. You have understood the urgent need to steward our water as a commons protected from one generation to the next. You have seen the need for us to establish a new healing relationship with water and to apply science and the rule of law as foundational principles for making informed policy decisions that protect human health and the entire water cycle. You stood with us to take on the threats of water privatization and commodification, oil pipelines in our waters, water insecurity, an affordability crisis, chemical contamination, crumbling infrastructure, and much more. 

Because of you, our movement continues to grow, forging potent alliances and partnerships with people, organizations, and governments across the Great Lakes Basin, including indigenous tribes, frontline groups, and business and community leaders. In the next decade, it will take all of us rowing together in the same direction to secure the kind of durable and lasting water policies needed for these globally unique and magnificent Great Lakes.

We give thanks to FLOW founder Jim Olson for his visionary legal thinking, leadership, and passion in founding a nonprofit wholly dedicated and committed to protecting water as a shared commons for all peoples from one generation to the next. His lifelong dedication to clean, safe, affordable, and public water has never faltered. Jim’s work continues to this day. We cannot begin to thank him enough. 

We give thanks to our current and past board members and advisors, who have been tremendously helpful in charting our visionary policy work and establishing our unique public interest voice across the Basin.

We give thanks to our staff for lending exceptional talent and devotion to Great Lakes protection every day. Our staff brings heart and soul to this challenging and rewarding work, drawing on decades’ worth of law, policy, and communication experience to improve the future of all living creatures and communities in the Great Lakes. And our policy work is richer thanks to a decade of amazing interns, volunteers, visual artists, writers, performers, and filmmakers sharing their gifts.

We give thanks to our partners, allies, and friends who share our core values and goals, working to secure water for all, and who bring diverse and rich perspectives to solving complex issues. 

The next 10 years are critical, with urgent solutions needed to protect water and public health from the climate crisis. We want you to know that your unwavering support and commitment make all the difference. 

We thank you for empowering our work for the last decade and for standing boldly with us in the next 10 years. Our pledge to you remains the same: We are committed to law, science, facts, and truth. We focus on empowerment for the common good and public interest. We speak for the water. We include all persons and succeed together.

Our warmest wishes to you,

Liz Kirkwood and Renee Huckle Mittelstaedt


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