About Us

Groundwork USA is a national organization with local roots, engaging local businesses, residents and government officials to revitalize neighborhoods and transform community liabilities into community assets. Dedicated to the belief that by changing places, we can change lives, we transform blighted communities for the long term, working hand-in-hand with our network of 20 local Trusts based in small “legacy” cities, in underserved neighborhoods within larger cities, and in rural communities– all frequently overlooked by funders and policymakers.

Established in 2003 to support the growing network of Groundwork Trusts across the United States, we provide a national model, informed by best practices and research, and then Groundwork Trusts, working throughout America, tailor the approach to the unique needs of their community, with input from the residents, government officials and business owners who call it home. Whether it’s creating a floating litter trap for the Anacostia River or starting an urban farm in the Hudson Valley, Groundwork is a catalyst for bold and innovative thinking to achieve what’s possible for communities.

The Groundwork USA Model based on the successful Groundwork UK movement, which has renewed hundreds of underserved communities across the United Kingdom since the early 1980s. Our primary Federal partners are the EPA Brownfields Program and the National Park Service Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program.

What is a Groundwork “Trust”? In the United States, Groundwork Trusts are 501c3 nonprofit entities established by local stakeholders in communities struggling with environmental, economic and social decline. Like the Groundwork model itself, the term “Trust” as used in reference to a Groundwork entity originated in the United Kingdom; in British common law, a not-for-profit charity is referred to as a “Trust”. However, as the model has been adapted in the US, Groundwork Trusts act as trusted intermediaries between local government and neighborhood residents, and in this way, engender in their communities the more commonly understood definition of the word “trust”: the trait of believing in the reliability and honesty of others.

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