Few people, if any, did more to protect Michiganders from PFAS than AJ Birkbeck.
The West Michigan attorney joined forces with citizen sleuths and scientists to hold a Rockford tannery accountable for fouling groundwater with legacy pollution. By building bridges, rattling cages, protecting activists and creating a sound legal strategy, AJ helped force the tannery to clean up its pollution, create statewide PFAS laws and make a nation aware of the impact of these "forever chemicals."
AJ passed away surrounded by family in November 2021. In honor of AJ's selfless work, the Michigan Environmental Council and the PFAS Alliance have created the AJ Birkbeck Scholarship Fund. In May 2023, Ethan Coffin became its first recipient.
With your help, the Scholarship Fund will annually award Michigan college students like Ethan at least $3,000 to conduct community projects and research that continue AJ's legacy. It will propel the PFAS movement toward a future where the chemicals' threats are no more, and it will honor Birkbeck and his legacy.
Meet Ethan Coffin, the scholarship's first recipient.