The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of U.S. and Canadian mayors and other local officials working to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. By integrating their environmental, economic and social agendas, local governments are helping to sustain a resource that represents approximately 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater supply, provides drinking water for 40 million people, and is the foundation upon which a strong regional economy is based. Members of the Cities Initiative are committed to working together and with other orders of government and stakeholders to improve infrastructure, programs and services and increase investments that protect and restore this globally significant freshwater resource. Only by working together to protect the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence can we preserve and enhance the quality of life and economic well being of the people of the region.
The Cities Initiative was founded in 2003 by Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago. Mayor David Miller of Toronto is the founding Canadian Chair. The Cities Initiative has grown to include 114 member municipalities of all sizes from around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin, representing over 14 million people. David Ullrich is the Executive Director and point of contact for the Initiative. Before heading the Initiative, Mr.Ullrich was deputy regional administrator for the Great Lakes region of the U.S.Environment Protection Agency from 1992 until 2003. During his 30 years with EPA, he had been acting regional counsel, and chief of Air Enforcement.
Headquartered in Chicago, the Cities Initiative also has staff located in Toronto and Ottawa. The Cities Initiative is a 501(c)3 organization in the U.S. and a registered corporation in Canada. The Cities Initiative receives its core funding from membership dues and is provided additional financial support from the following foundations: the Joyce Foundation, the Mott Foundation, the Wege Foundation, the BRICO Fund, and Chicago’s Environmental Fund.