Erb Family Foundation Awards $4.5 Million for University of Michigan Water Center

The University of Michigan has announced a three-year, $4.5 million grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation to help establish the University of Michigan Water Center. The grant will be matched by the university.

To be administered by the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, the center will support research and education focused on protecting and restoring the Great Lakes through the reduction of toxic contamination and eliminating polluted runoff from coastal waters, efforts to combat invasive species, and protecting wildlife and their habitats, and will involve faculty and students from across the university, including the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecological Research, Michigan Sea Grant, and the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

The foundation envisions the center's initial efforts leading to more effective integration of scientific input for, and evaluation of, restoration and protection of the Great Lakes; a more robust federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; a deeper understanding of potential cumulative impacts of currently funded GLRI projects and assessment of remaining science and management gaps; and more efficient and effective restoration approaches for the Great Lakes basin and beyond.

The Erbs have long supported sustainability initiatives at the university, including a $5 million endowment gift in 1996 to establish the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise; a $500,000 grant in 2009 to the Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping project; and a $200,000 challenge grant in 2011to fund third-year students at the Erb Institute.

"The lakes are a unique and precious ecosystem that we must steward for the benefit of current and future generations," said Erb Family Foundation president John Erb. This regional and international engagement is essential at this critical stage in our stewardship of the Great Lakes."