INN-led Collaboration Wins Great Lakes Protection Fund Award

Today, The Great Lakes Protection Fund — the world’s first endowment focused on promoting a healthy ecosystem — named the Institute for Nonprofit News one of six winners of the 2020 Great Lakes Leadership Award. The award recognizes the "From Rust to Resilience" collaboration’s outstanding storytelling efforts to connect people to the challenges facing the Great Lakes and actions they can take to address these threats.

From Rust to Resilience” was a collaborative reporting project launched in late April that included six members of the Institute for Nonprofit News (Belt Magazine, The Conversation, Ensia, Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television, MinnPost and Side Effects Public Media at WFYI) as well as WUWM Milwaukee. The Water Main was an engagement partner and Indiana Public Broadcasting collaborated with Side Effects Public Media, a collaborative outlet in itself. Additional grant funding was provided by the Connected Coastlines initiative of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The series was prompted by the perception that the Great Lakes, which make up the largest body of fresh water on Earth, could become a “climate refuge,” where temperatures are relatively moderate, and water is abundant. “From Rust to Resilience” highlights cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Duluth, Milwaukee and Toronto, addressing issues including: What are today’s challenges and opportunities related to climate change? How are urban areas playing the hands they’ve been dealt? How might they do so better in the future? Read the 12 stories from the collaboration.

The Fund was established by the governors of the Great Lakes states and invests in innovators who are improving the health of the lakes and ensuring a future with clean
water. A full list of winners of the 2020 award include:

  • Peter Annin, a long-time environmental reporter and author of The Great Lakes Water Wars who says we are transitioning from the Age of oil to the Age of Water.
  • Dan Egan, a reporter for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and author of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes.
  • Tom Henry, reporter for The Toledo Blade who has covered the Great Lakes full-time longer than any other journalist.
  • Great Lakes Now, a monthly television program and multi-media news hub about how we enjoy, study, restore, and experience the world’s largest supply of surface freshwater. (And an INN member!)
  • Institute for Nonprofit News, which, with its partners, produced Rust to Resilience, a reporting series about the impact of climate change on the Great Lakes and surrounding cities.
  • U.S. Water Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for racial justice, innovation and progress in the management of water in the Great Lakes, including drinking water.

INN believes that collaboration can help lead to greater attention, reach and impact. Bringing newsrooms together helps create a bigger pool of resources to tell complex stories in a detailed and responsible way. This is the second collaboration led by INN — view all collaborations here.

To learn more about our collaborative efforts, email Collaborations Leader Sharon McGowan.