University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

School of Freshwater Sciences

Fund for Lake Michigan boosts clean water research at UW-Milwaukee

The Fund for Lake Michigan has approved a $500,000 grant to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) School of Freshwater Sciences to support its $53 million expansion along Milwaukee’s inner harbor.

Vicki Elkin, Executive Director of the Fund for Lake Michigan, presents the award

The grant will support the Great Lakes Genomics Center, the nation’s first research center dedicated solely to the application of ground breaking genomic and molecular tools to address the issues of freshwater management, protection, restoration and preservation. With this research, scientists hope to develop new technologies and more cost-effective strategies to improve the Great Lakes’ watershed – just as the Human Genome Project produced new understanding of human diseases and strategies to combat them. 

“Our grant to UWM is part of the Fund’s broad-based strategy to improve water quality in southeastern Wisconsin, whether through applied research, habitat restoration, beach improvements or urban waterfront redevelopment,” says Vicki Elkin, the Fund’s executive director.

“Through the generosity of the Fund for Lake Michigan, UWM can further position itself as a leader in cutting-edge research addressing some of the world’s most pressing clean water issues and, at the same time, strengthen our local economy,” says UWM Chancellor Michael R. Lovell.

The gift is part of a “challenge grant” established by the Fund and will leverage financing for the Genomics Center to invest in state-of-the-art equipment, most notably a second DNA sequencer. This was made possible through a secured grant from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and a donation by Kikkoman Foods, Inc.

“The Fund for Lake Michigan has become an integral and vital partner in supporting Milwaukee’s efforts to expand the region’s international leadership as a water technology hub,” says Rich Meeusen, co-chair of Milwaukee’s Water Council and President/CEO/Chairman of Badger Meter, Inc.

The Fund for Lake Michigan is a philanthropic organization whose mission is to support efforts aimed toward the enhancement of Lake Michigan, its shoreline and tributary river systems. Since 2011, the Fund has awarded 75 grants to support high-profile projects in the area to benefit the people, plants and animals of southeastern Wisconsin. To learn more about the Fund’s mission, projects and past grants, visit