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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Clean Lakes Alliance Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

Mission: The mission of the clean lakes alliance (cla) is to bring together and lead a community of people, businesses, organizations, and government agencies dedicated to improving and protecting water quality in the yahara river watershed and illustrate the progress made.

Programs: Outreach and education are a vital part of programming in order to achieve cla's vision that everyone realizes that the lakes are the center of our community. We have diverse programs to engage diverse groups of people in our lake efforts. The programs are designed to educate both directly and indirectly. The idea is that issue-literacy leads to ownership, ownership leads to caring, and caring leads to progress. Cla's outreach and education programs include the clean lakes festival, yahara lakes 101, lake ecology education and world water week, and they help the community develop awareness of the yahara lakes, thereby empowering them to advocate for and help make progress towards improving the quality of our waters.

watershed programming is an essential part of cla, helping to achieve our goal of 50% phosphorus reduction by 2025. The programs include an economic impact study, yahara pride farms management services, land acquisition and monitoring, and they provide the tools to help reduce phosphorus runoff in the yahara river watershed through multiple initiatives, both urban and rural. On the ground, these programs create the framework to improve the quality of our waters.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Brennan N.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a former Community Board member and volunteer at Clean Lakes Alliance, a Madison resident, and now a nonprofit professional, I've seen the work of this nonprofit from a variety of angles. Clean Lakes Alliance successfully brought together key stakeholders in our community to finally put together a strategic plan of action. They raised the money, built the organization, created a solid financial and governance infrastructure, and are now executing on the work the community has asked them to do. Phosphorus has been reduced despite huge challenges including public awareness and behavior, urban construction, agricultural runoff, reduced government spending, and increased rainfall due to climate change. Their efficient, effective staff continues to stay focused on the mission, while the leadership is hands-on, pragmatic and provides expertise in their fields to advance the organization. Clean Lakes Alliance has placed the Madison area lakes at the center of the community conversation around the impact on our quality of life now and in the future.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

As editor of Madison Magazine, I was eager to become involved in the Clean Lakes Alliance because the Yahara Lakes are one of the most important stories we have to share about our wonderful community. They are an integral part of our identity, our heritage, our daily life, and our economy, and we must restore and protect them for our children and grandchildren. As a founding member of the CLA Community Board, I had a front-row seat to the extraordinary collaboration between the city of Madison, Dane County, area nonprofits and the private sector to implement a solid plan for phosphorus reduction. The challenge was--and is--formidable, but phosphorous reduction is happening, thanks to the stakeholders that came together to through their own organizations and through their partnerships with CLA. Community engagement and awareness around the health of our lakes is also critical, and CLA has organized and implemented programs and initiatives that are strong and successful. Because of CLA, the Madison area keeps getting better!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

i have been involved with Clean Lakes Alliance for the past nine years. As a native Madisonian, i have watched the evolution of understanding by our community in terms of the impact our actions make on the quality of our lakes. I have enjoyed lake experiences in both the summer and the winter (walking across frozen Lake Mendota with my dad on weekend afternoons), and i am so thankful that Clean Lakes Alliance is making it public that each of us can make choices that positively impact our lake quality. More heads working to improve our lakes is an excellent thing for our community and our entire state.

Also, Clean Lakes Alliance is a well run non-profit. Not only do they stick closely to their mission, but the financial stewardship with donor funds and the consistent high-quality programming make it a healthy, thriving organization. They are able to achieve a tremendous amount with limited funds and provide great opportunities for donors and friends to support their mission.

top notch organization!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What makes the City of Madison so beautiful and unique are our lakes. However, through the years, not enough has been done to protect Madison's greatest assets until the Clean Lakes Alliance came into existence. This organization is solely devoted to improving the water quality of the lakes, streams, and wetlands of the Yahara River watershed. This organization is vital and has made tremendous strides in bringing everyone together in our community to not only protect our lakes, but help them thrive again.

1 Kim Manka S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've volunteered for them, worked with them, donated to their cause, and attended multiple fundraisers/events. They do a great job and are constantly communicating with me to keep me engaged in what they are doing and the current state of our local lakes. They have done an outstanding job of bringing the right groups, individuals, and business community together to improve the quality of our lakes and work together. Everything they do is so well done and very informative. I am proud to support their mission and do what I can to help them reach their goal.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Clean Lakes Alliance brings together a broad based contingency around supporting the health and active public use and enjoyment of our lakes. Advocacy, education and support of programs beneficial to the lakes are amoung the activities they undertake daily. Most prominent among activities is the Frozen Assets Festival, a free family-friendly event that draws over 6,000 visitors to the lakefront annually. By raising the attention and enjoyment of the lakes, clean lakes alliance has been able to successfully advocate for public and private support if Madison’s most important asset, it’s waterfrint.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Clean Lakes Alliance is an amazing nonprofit. They have a unique, non-adversarial style that is incredibly effective. Their mission is to clean-up the Madison, Wisconsin area lakes--but their formula for success should definitely be replicated elsewhere. I highly recommend supporting CLA because they are bringing together the decision-makers and making a big difference in our little part of the world.

Donor

Rating: 5

How can you live in a community like ours and not support an organization that supports and is a vocal advocate for the health of our lakes?

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Clean Lakes Alliance, in my opinion, is doing an outstanding job of advocating, bringing together and targeting public and private sector resources for improving the quality of the Madison areas lakes. At a time of accelerating urban expansion and deep political polarization, the CLA is leading a effective community centered effort to reverse environmental decline, an extremely difficult task that has already met with some success.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the Clean Lakes Alliance for four years.
Madison is a special city. We have the State Capital and the University of Wisconsin, but most important we have our four Yahara lakes. Our lakes are a focal point of beauty, recreation and science.
I attend the morning lecture series Yahara Lakes 101, where scientists and community leaders talk about the ecology of the Yahara Lakes watershed.I have learned about the past and future threats to the health of our lakes. I have learned how our lakes have always changed through time and how human activity has accelerated the changes. I have learned how many are working to intervene and slow down these detrimental environmental changes.
I am attracted to The Clean Lakes Alliance because it is a broad-based organization that includes people from all walks of life.
My husband and I are near-shore and off-shore water quality monitors. We take measurements from shore on water quality, turbidity, temperature and conditions. From our pontoon boat, we measure dissolved O2, temperature and turbitiy in the deepest hole in Lake Mendota. This information is used to help University of Wisconsin scientists understand how algal and cyanobacteria blooms develop and migrate around the lakes.
This information is made ready to the public in real-time at lakeforecast.org.
I believe the Clean Lakes Alliance is of critical importance to the present and future ecological health of the the Yahara Lakes watershed.


Volunteer

Rating: 5

Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) is one of the most impressive organizations in Madison. Their work is central to the health of the lakes and watershed and the happiness of the community. They plan events to get people engaged and educated in their work and the community loves their work! They value all volunteers. I love CLA! Thank you!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Clean Lakes Alliance has done a spectacular job of bringing Madison’s business, government and vibrant volunteer groups together in support of our beautiful lakes. In a short time the Clean Lakes Alliance has made a name for itself and is recognized as a leading community organization. It truly is central in Madison’s belief that our lakes are our most precious resource.

Todd M.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

CLA’s mission is to improve the health of or lakes, streams, and conservancies in Dane County region. Education, Advocacy, Action. They are very committed to making clean water a “right” for every citizen.

Sarah D.7

Donor

Rating: 5

The Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) in Madison, WI is focused on preserving and restoring our area lakes and protecting them from issues facing the watershed. I support the CLA both personally and professionally because of their ability to strategically plan, set goals, and exceed those goals. Not only does CLA advocate for the welfare of our lakes, but they engage the community in helping to clean up and experience our lakes. They have a sustaining volunteer structure that you don't find with most non-profit organizations from clean-up volunteers to marketing and public relations interns. I think CLA's greatest strength is working to procure the necessary funds to support the programming and awareness events to make the community aware of the condition of the lakes. The healthy our lakes are - the healthier our communities are, both short and long-term.

Gabriel N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I always have great experiences with Clean Lake Alliance. I love their events and what they do for the lakes. I believe they really make a difference to our great community in Madison. I hope they keep doing this great work and make sure our lakes are healthy and fun for everybody.

Advisor

Rating: 5

Clean Lakes Alliance brings together previously disparate groups to improve the quality of all of the waterways within the Yahara River Watershed. CLA bring together public and private entities, farmers and city folk, university and community resources to collectively address the most pressing issues for our waters.

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife and I moved to Monona, WI in July of 2012. A member of the Yahara Lakes Association suggested that CLA was an organization in which we should be interested. The suggestion was exactly right.

CLA is giving the residents of the Yahara Watershed the ability and chance to make a difference in the present. Importantly, CLA is giving us the ability to provide future generations an inheritance of clean water and a sustainable and enviable environment. CLA’s success is based on a number of factors:
1) CLA has become a consistent, year-after-year regional leader.
2) The organization has driven inclusivity, i.e., CLA leadership has invited and convinced all of the key Watershed players to participate: Governmental entities, Private Businesses, The University of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin DNR and all of the Residents of the area.
3) CLA’s proposed directions, ideas and plans have been based on good data and science, particularly grounded on a great dialog and input from the U of W Department of Limnology.
4) The plans and goals include a long term view with short term, specific goals.
5) With persistence, CLA has been able to gain good, positive publicity and developed programs and events that both drive good publicity and in turn spark participation, i.e., Lake Monitoring, MONTHLY 101 meetings, a Winter Carnival
6) With inclusivity, CLA has been able to raise money to support our Watershed wide activities.
All of this adds up to an effort that is working, growing and offers the promise of delivering a positive environmental inheritance for future generations.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Clean Lakes Alliance is a fantastic organization. They do wonderful work to reduce phosphorus in the Yahara Watershed and to engage citizens in the effort to clean up the lakes. As a volunteer, I have seen firsthand the impact this organization has on the local community. The Frozen Assets festival has now become an incredibly popular Madison event, and the Yahara Lakes 101 talks are widely attended. Clean Lakes Alliance is a well-run, driven organization that no doubt will continue to have a positive impact on the Yahara Watershed in years to come.

Review from Guidestar