The Alliance for the Great Lakes works to protect the Great Lakes for today and tomorrow. We involve tens of thousands of people each year in advocacy, volunteering, education, and research to ensure the lakes are healthy and safe for all.

Our staff are headquartered in Chicago, with field offices in Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee. Our Board of Directors represent a wide range of interests and expertise from around the Great Lakes region. Our work is made possible by our generous supporters.

Decades of success

The Alliance for the Great Lakes works out front, and behind the scenes, to protect the lakes. Recent successes include:

  • Championed federal ban on microbeads in personal care products like face wash and toothpaste, preventing the tiny plastic particles from entering the Great Lakes;
  • Released groundbreaking report calling for permanent separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins to prevent inter-basin transfer of Asian carp and other invasive species;
  • Advocated for the historic Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact to keep Great Lakes water in the lakes, and won significant protections for the lakes in the Compact’s first test, a diversion application by Waukesha, Wisc.;
  • Won a historic cleanup goal for Lake Erie, which is plagued each year by toxic algal blooms, when the governors of Ohio and Michigan joined the premier of Ontario to commit to a 40% reduction in nutrients into the lake by 2025;
  • Connected nearly 60,000 students with hands-on Great Lakes learning through our Great Lakes In My World curriculum; and
  • Involved nearly 15,000 volunteers in the Adopt-a-Beach program last year, cleaning up beaches, collecting valuable data, and building pride in the Great Lakes.

Charity Navigator

Learn more about our current campaigns, how to get involved, and our staff, board, and finances. We are proud to have received the Charity Navigator 4-star rating, the highest possible, nine years in a row.


Led by Lee Botts, a tireless champion for Lake Michigan, a group of advocates formed the Lake Michigan Federation in 1970. The Federation was instrumental in many of the early Great Lakes protection campaigns.

Each Great Lake depends on the health of the others. And, in the early 2000s, the organization’s staff and Board of Directors began contemplating how to expand focus beyond just Lake Michigan.

The Lake Michigan Federation was renamed the Alliance for the Great Lakes in 2006. Along with the name change came an expanded vision: to protect and restore the Great Lakes for people and wildlife, forever.

Contact us

Alliance for the Great Lakes staff have deep roots throughout the region. Our staff bring a wide range of expertise and skills to our Great Lakes protection programs.

Get in touch

Board of Directors

Board members provide critical strategic guidance to the organization and represent a wide range of interests and expertise from around the Great Lakes region.

See our Board


Looking for a job that rewards your passion for the Great Lakes? Check here regularly for new full- and part-time position and internship listings.

See available jobs

Annual Report 2019

Our most recent annual report contains a message from Joel Brammeier, President & CEO, a financial review and a donor list, as well as stories from our work last year.

Read the annual report

Privacy Policy

When you support the Alliance, you trust us with your information. Our Privacy Policy is meant to help you understand what information we collect, why we collect it, and what we do with it.

Read our privacy policy