Grand Rapids, Michigan (October 14, 2004) – Peter M. Wege and the Wege Foundation
announced today a $5 million, five-year grant launching a Great Lakes Coalition to build public
support nationally to restore America’s greatest freshwater resource, the Great Lakes. Among the largest private foundation grants ever for Great Lakes protection, it follows the historic “Healing Our Waters” summit of May 2004, which set forth an agenda for federal government action and funding to restore the Great Lakes.

“The Healing Our Waters agenda is the Magna Carta for Great Lakes restoration,” said Wege Foundation President Peter M. Wege. “The mission of the Great Lakes Coalition will be to
turn this agenda into real policies that will restore our Great Lakes.”

The Healing Our Waters agenda, described at, calls upon the
U.S. federal government to take the lead role in coordinating Great Lakes protection, especially
in restoring water quality, preventing and controlling non-native aquatic invasive species, and
cleaning-up areas of concentrated toxic pollution.

The Great Lakes Coalition will be a broad-based network of national, regional and state
organizations dedicated to Great Lakes restoration. It will include a technical advisory committee
comprised of scientists, business leaders, economists and other experts. The Coalition will be
organized by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) of Washington, DC, which
will serve as national fiscal agent for the grant, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF),
which will serve as regional fiscal agent through NWF’s Great Lakes Natural Resources Center
in Michigan.

“The Great Lakes are national treasures,” said NPCA President Tom Kiernan, “and we
will build a national coalition of concerned Americans to restore and protect them.”
“Many foundations and organizations have worked on Great Lakes protection for years,”
according to Andy Buchsbaum, director of NWF’s Great Lakes Natural Resource Center. “Now,
we will be able to coordinate our efforts through the Great Lakes Coalition and create a national
constituency for effective action by the federal government to restore the Great Lakes.”
“No single foundation, no single organization, no single person will restore the Great
Lakes by working alone,” said Peter Wege. “It will take close partnerships among all who care
for the Lakes, including government and elected officials.”

The Healing Our Waters conference, sponsored by the Wege Foundation, convened nearly 100
scientists, environmentalists, conservationists and educators from across the country in Grand
Rapids, Michigan in May 2004. These experts drafted the Healing Our Waters Agenda for Great
Lakes Restoration. A full report containing the agenda was distributed to the administration, all
Members of Congress and other federal level policy makers in September. The report is
available at

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