Green and Blue Network: For Great Lakes Land and Water

Green & Blue Update

Green and Blue Summer Meeting: Testing the Waters: A view of the Great Lakes from Saginaw Bay

Members of CMF’s Blue & Green Network recently took to land and water in Bay City to learn about – and experience – topical environmental issues impacting the Saginaw Bay and the Great Lakes

Dune Restoration Site Visit on July 13th at Zetterberg Preserve at Point Betsie, Frankfort, MI 

Green and Blue Network members met for a hike through the Dunes to see first-hand, the progress made by The Nature Conservancy  to protect the Dunes by removing invasive plants.  Since 2006, The Lake Michigan Dune Restoration Project has been removing invasive species such as baby’s breath and spotted knapweed from the Zetterberg Preserve at Pt. Betsie and partner lands along the eastern Lake Michigan shoreline. This important project was generously supported through CMF member contributions through the Green & Blue Action Fund totaling $18,000.

What is the Green and Blue Network?

The Green & Blue Network was formed to be a strategic, action–oriented learning and doing network.  By bringing like-minded people and organizations together to learn and network, the group believes that funders will find it easier to work together and make grants together for greater impact than they could achieve by working independently.

What is the purpose?

The purpose of the Council of Michigan Foundations' Green and Blue Learning Community is for CMF members and philanthropists to come together to learn from experts and each other about leading environmental issues and how to make more effective and intentional environmental grants, impact environmental policy and leverage grant dollars. Environment is defined broadly recognizing that a sustainable environment will require complex and interrelated systems, organizations, and geographies to work together.

"Our vision for the group is to create a friendly community of foundations that can learn together, share our experiences and stay connected through the web" - Tom Porter, Porter Family Foundation, GBN Co-Chair

The underlying assumption for this affinity group is that foundations can have a larger impact working together to make change than they can on their own.  The Green & Blue Network will help its members understand the underlying issues, best practices, and the public policy required to effect change.  It also serves as a model of collaboration, bringing together like-minded foundations to get to know each other, establish trust and common goals which will foster collaboration and learning together. It will serve as a source of funding opportunities for its members and attendees as well as a conduit for its members to get involved in other state and regional affinity groups and collaboratives such as the Healing Our Waters Coalition, Michigan Land Use Funders, Great Lakes Funders and Environmental Grantmakers Association.

What are the meetings like?

The Green & Blue Network generally meets three or four times a year:

  • A summer meeting that will include a field experience
  • A winter meeting that is more of an educational and networking meeting and may not include a field experience
  • A meeting in conjunction with CMF’s Annual Conference in October of each year
  • When needed, meetings with legislators or state officials to help our members learn about new or changed state programs and policies.

Meetings generally will include presentations from one or more environmental experts and may also include discussions about lessons learned, policy implications, volunteer and grantmaking opportunities and personal reflections.

Who are the leaders?

Green and Blue Network Co Chairs: Tom Cook (right), Executive Director, Cook Family Foundation and Director of the Nature Conservancy, Michigan; and Tom Porter (left), President, Porter Family Foundation.

How can I get involved in the Green & Blue Network?

Participating in the Green and Blue Network is an excellent way to connect around issues that are important to you and your foundation and are an important benefit of your CMF membership with a reduced registration cost. Non-members are invited to participate and encouraged to join the conversation.  Check the upcoming program calendar or the right sidebar on this page to see if a GBN program is listed.  Events are open for registration just as soon as speakers and event details are confirmed.  For more information or to discuss your interests, contact the Deb Palms, Director of Learning Services.  


All CMF members, non-member foundations or individual philanthropists active or interested in the environment are welcome!  Click this link to view a current list of our participating foundations.