Staff

Stephen Burrington is the Executive Director of Groundwork USA. He brings a tremendous track record in the non-profit, government, and private sectors, along with a compelling vision for the organization and a deep commitment to our mission of changing places and changing lives. From 2007 until he assumed the Groundwork USA leadership role in 2014, he has been a consultant to state and local leaders and diverse private sector organizations across the nation, planning and helping implement strategies in sustainable land use, transportation, and energy. His clients have included the US EPA; governors’ offices, state cabinet officials and mayors; environmental, business, and community development organizations; national foundations; and developers of renewable energy and transit-oriented development projects.

Steve was formerly Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, where he led the formation of the nation’s sixth-largest and most diverse state parks, natural resources and infrastructure agency. He also served as undersecretary in the Massachusetts Office for Commonwealth Development, where he created nationally recognized programs for advancing sustainable development in cities and town centers. Before entering state government, Burrington was Vice President and General Counsel for the Conservation Law Foundation, New England’s leading environmental advocacy organization. He began his career as an attorney with the civil legal services program for low-income people in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and University of Michigan Law School.

“Groundwork USA combines the Trusts’ ability to effect change at the local level with the know-how and resources of a nationwide network,” says Steve. “That’s exactly what the next era of environmental progress requires, and exactly what we need to reach the goal of ‘no community left behind. I have watched Groundwork Trusts in action for a decade, and am amazed by their ability to grapple with complexity, overcome difficult circumstances and accomplish great things.”

Kate O’Brien, as Director of Outreach and Network Development for Groundwork USA, is responsible for establishing and maintaining strategic organizational partnerships, growing national office capacity for providing support and technical assistance to trusts in the GWUSA network, and coordinating the organization’s multi-faceted PR, communications and outreach strategies, as well as its social media presence.

Kate has been part of the Groundwork family for nearly a decade, having begun as Environmental Outreach Coordinator for Groundwork Lawrence in Massachusetts before transitioning to Deputy Director there in 2004, and then Executive Director in 2007.

Kate works remotely for Groundwork USA from Portland, Maine, where she lives with her husband and young sons, and enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, including running, hiking, gardening, biking, and snowboarding.

Anjali Thavendran Chen
is GWUSA’s Trust Services Director, and is responsible for coordinating and strengthening GWUSA’s network of 19 Trusts nationwide by providing capacity-building assistance and trouble-shooting services, supporting best practices and the sharing of technical expertise within the network, assisting with fundraising, expanding communication within the network, and managing the financial and administrative aspects of coordinating Trust needs and services.

Anjali has a broad range of experience in environmental and energy policy, non-profit fund-raising, and organizational development.  Most recently, she worked with community groups in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area doing fund-raising and providing capacity-building assistance.  Prior to that she worked on federal regulatory and energy policy issues as Senior Economist & Energy Research Analyst with consulting firms in Washington, D.C. In her post-college and grad-school years, Anjali worked with non-profits on various aspects of advocating for sustainable development policies – in Sri Lanka, in Geneva, and in New York and Washington, D.C..  Anjali has a B.A. in Economics & Sociology from Brandeis University (MA), and a Masters in International Affairs (concentration in Environmental Policy) from Columbia University (NY).

Anjali lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, with her husband and three daughters. After trying, for some years, to get the work-life balance right, she thinks she has found a good formula working here at GWUSA.

In her role at GWUSA, Ann-Marie Mitroff will be supporting Groundwork Trusts with their River Programs. She will provide guidance to local Trusts on community stewardship of rivers, how to work with municipal officials, and ways for communities to pull together resources for river restoration.

Ann-Marie is also Groundwork Hudson Valley’s Director of River Programs and Saw Mill River Coalition Coordinator, and is responsible for outreach to community groups, organizing training sessions, and supervising work on a day-to-day basis.  Over the past 4 years, she has implemented river restoration efforts with volunteers and landscapers, promoted best-management-practices, supervised fish studies, conducted land use and wetlands studies with college and high school interns, created partnerships, and worked with municipalities on river protection. She led a series of charrettes around the Saw Mill River day lighting site design and manages the habitat restoration grant that will provide the ecological design elements for this project.

Ann-Marie has an MPA from Seattle University and a BA from the University of Washington.

Curt Collier oversees Groundwork USA’s National Youth Program, and has designed and implemented Groundwork USA’s Youth Summit in New Orleans in 2009, in Washington, DC, in 2010, in Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park in 2011, and in Yonkers and the New York metro area in 2012. Curt is also Youth Programs Director at Groundwork Hudson Valley, and oversees all their youth and senior programs. This includes the extensive and award-winning Youth Green Team and the innovative Environmental Food Team. For the Food Team he carries out food advocacy and presents a lecture series on the History of Food.  Prior to working at Groundwork, Curt was the Leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Riverdale, NY, and is now one of three leaders of the Ethical Culture Society of New York City.  

Curt has an M.S. in Communication Disorders, Post Graduate Center for Mental Health. Prior to leading the above activities he taught at Texas Tech University, Texas A&M Kingsville, and most recently at Hofstra University.

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