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GLIN==> New foundation forming- Great Lakes Aid Concerts

Submitted by Tom Fuhrman <lerc@mercyhurst.edu>

Note: The press conference was held on Feb. 5. Follow-up news stories include, among others:



Date: February 3, 2005

Contact: Tom Fuhrman



New foundation forming to raise money and awareness for Great Lakes Protection and Restoration with Great Lakes Aid Concerts

ERIE, PA. - Tom Fuhrman, President of the Lake Erie Region Conservancy and a board member of Great Lakes United, today announced plans to form a new foundation, Great Lakes Aid (GLA). The mission of GLA will be to raise money and awareness for Great Lakes Restoration and Protection efforts throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence ecosystem which will provide financial support to organizations that work to that end.

GLA will promote annual music festivals held in cities throughout the basin with at least one major event to be held each year in one of the five major Great Lakes Cities (Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo and Toronto).

Individuals from organizations such as the Great Lakes office's of The Nature Conservancy and National Wildlife Federation, Great Lakes United, the Lake Michigan Federation, Friends of the Crooked River (Ohio), the Public Interest Research Group, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, Environmental Associates of NY, Friends of the Chicago River and other environmental organizations in the Basin have been supporting the efforts of a core group in getting the project off the ground.

Work is under way for the first Great Lakes Aid concert to be held in Chicago in 2006.

A steering committee has been formed and has been working to line up an advisory board that would include celebrities and entertainers similar to what has made Farm Aid a success for the past twenty years. "This project has been received with nothing but excitement" said Fuhrman. "All indications are that this has the potential to become a very successful endeavor."

The Great Lakes represent 20% of the world's fresh water and they have received unprecedented attention in the past few years by all levels of government. Currently there are bills in both the House and the Senate that would bring unprecedented funding for Restoration efforts. Matching these federal dollars is going to be a challenge and Great Lakes Aid will be an additional partner in meeting this need."

There are almost 40 million people living in the Great Lakes Basin and a majority understand that the Great Lakes are a national treasure and that restoring their health is an investment in our community's health and economy. A recent Joyce Foundation survey found that 96% of regional residents wanted better protection for the Great Lakes.

"Our main and immediate focus is to raise start-up money through grants, donations and sponsors that will allow us to establish the foundation and the infrastructure needed to put on our first concert" said Fuhrman. The George Gund Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio recently awarded a grant for the project and Fuhrman has several other commitments.

A press conference will be held this Saturday, February 5th to make a formal announcement and discuss the project in further detail. The press conference will be held at the Avalon Hotel in Erie, PA at 6:30 pm. This will be followed by the first annual Erie Environmental Awards Celebration and Dinner featuring entertainment by Terry

Sylvester of the Hollies. Sylvester and his band the Escorts often opened for the Beatles at the Cavern in Liverpool, England and Sylvester became a member of the Hollies in 1968 when he replaced Graham Nash. The Hollies had such hits such as "Long Cool Woman," "The Air That I Breathe," and "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother."

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