March 26th, 2014
Former Commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Takes the Helm
YONKERS, NY March 26, 2014
Groundwork USA, a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving quality of life in underserved communities, has named Stephen Burrington to the role of Executive Director effective immediately. Burrington, a veteran of state government, brings to Groundwork USA more than two decades of leadership experience in sustainability, community development and environmental protection. Burrington assumes the role from Rick Magder, who has served as Executive Director of Groundwork USA since 2007.
“We are incredibly excited to have Steve at the helm as we enter the next phase of organizational growth and development,” said Maggie Super Church, Board Chair for Groundwork USA. “Steve brings a tremendous track record in the non-profit, government, and philanthropic sectors, along with a compelling vision for the organization and a deep commitment to our mission of changing places and changing lives.”
Groundwork USA is a national organization with local roots in 20 communities, engaging local businesses, residents and government officials to revitalize neighborhoods, improve quality of life in underserved communities, build cross-sector partnerships, and create sustainable community change. New Groundwork Trusts are invited to join the network through a rigorous selection process led by the National Park Service, one of Groundwork’s key federal partners. Core support for Groundwork USA also comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Ford Foundation.
Since 2007, Burrington 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.
“Groundwork USA combines the Trusts’ ability to effect change at the local level with the know-how and resources of a nationwide network,” said Burrington. “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,” he continued, “and am amazed by their ability to grapple with complexity, overcome difficult circumstances and accomplish great things.”
Burrington 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 Trusts are located in small and medium-sized cities, neighborhoods within larger cities, and rural communities that have suffered from the twin challenges of environmental degradation and economic decline. With input from local stakeholders, Groundwork Trusts train and employ local residents in green jobs; restore rivers that have been polluted and neglected; turn brownfields and vacant land into parks, trails and gardens; develop farmers’ markets and urban agriculture; and engage young people in community-based environmental leadership programs. Groundwork USA supports the local Trusts through capacity-building, fundraising, technical assistance, and documentation and sharing of best practices. Groundwork USA also works with partners and funders to inform national policy by holding up lessons learned on the ground in diverse communities across the country.
February 11th, 2014
Between April 3rd and April 6th, 2014, Groundwork USA will host its annual National Assembly & Youth Summit (originally scheduled for October 2013 and postponed due to the federal shutdown) at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
If you are Groundwork personnel, please REGISTER HERE.
If you are a federal or non-profit partner, please REGISTER HERE.
A more detailed agenda is being finalized. For the moment, here’s a rough outline of events:
THURSDAY APRIL 3rd
6:00pm Welcome Reception & Dinner for the Groundwork Network
FRIDAY APRIL 4th
9:00am-3:00pm Groundwork Youth: Investing in the Next Generation of Conservation-Minded Sustainable Community Builders
This morning-through-early afternoon forum will engage Groundwork USA’s federal partners in a dynamic and interactive conversation with Groundwork Green Team youth ambassadors, youth program leaders, and practitioners from underserved Groundwork communities. Forums held during past Groundwork Youth Summits have inspired the robust youth corps and job training programs happening on federal lands with Trusts across the Groundwork USA Network. This event celebrates that work, and also the National Park Service’s Call to Action.
We have planned an engaging agenda that involves:
• Groundwork youth making presentations about their work to improve their communities;
• Senior level NPS, EPA, and FWS staff as guest speakers; and
• A series of interactive discussions between all parties about fostering greater connections between public lands (as well as their agencies) and youth from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.
For more information on our national youth development program called “Green Team”, take a look at 7 recently completed profiles of young people emerging from Groundwork Green Team programs across our national network. Here’s a more broad-brush update on our youth development endeavors network-wide.
3:30-5:00pm Network-Only Program
Groundwork USA AND EPA-facilitated discussion among EDs, youth, and youth leaders on Environmental Justice
SATURDAY APRIL 5th (all-day at NCTC)
Groundwork USA Assembly for Trust Executive Directors
SATURDAY APRIL 5th (all-day at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park)
Groundwork USA Youth Summit for Youth Leaders and Green Team Youth Ambassadors
The NCTC facility, a US Fish and Wildlife Service property, is a 1 – 1.5 hour drive from BWI (Baltimore) and downtown Washington, DC, respectively.
Please check back here for detailed agenda and more conference info.
January 16th, 2014
Groundwork USA is greatly honored to have been chosen by the National Park Service for the Department of Interior’s 2013 Partners in Conservation award, which recognizes Groundwork USA’s outstanding contribution to conservation nationwide through community engagement and cooperation with local, state and federal partners.
“We are truly honored to have been selected by the National Park Service for the work we have done over the last decade to transform the lives of young people in their own communities and on public lands,” said Rick Magder, Executive Director of Groundwork USA, accepting the award from the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on behalf of the 19 Groundwork Trusts in the network. “We are incredibly proud of our staff at Groundwork Trusts across the country, the partners we have in the National Park Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the young people we reach and mentor to become the conservation leaders of tomorrow.”
Please see Groundwork USA’s full press release for more details: GWUSA DOI Conservation Award Press Release Jan 16 2014. And here is the DOI Press Release.
December 4th, 2013
Groundwork Trusts from across the U.S. nominated seven youth for in-depth profiles that explore their passion and their commitment to the community and the natural environment around them, and highlight their growth as inspiring leaders and aspiring environmental professionals. Read about these incredible Groundwork youth and their journeys in these one-page stories:
– Diego Contreras is from Dallas, TX; Diego Contreras 2013
– Rene Garcia is from Denver, CO; Rene Garcia 2013
– Wilkins Lugo is from Lawrence, MA; Wilkins Lugo 2013
– Sheena Conn is from Richmond, CA; Sheena Conn 2013
– Shay Ross is from San Diego, CA; Shay Ross 2013 and
– Tatiana and Briana Bogans are from Washington, DC.Bogans 2013
November 6th, 2013
News of a potential new Groundwork Trust in Jacksonville created quite a bit of excitement locally, and the news has been covered fairly extensively by the local media. Check out some of the news stories here: Florida Times Union, Jacksonville.com, and Metro Jacksonville.
November 6th, 2013
The position is based in Las Cruces, NM, and the application deadline is Nov. 18, 2013. Please see the job posting for more details. GW Dona Ana ED job posting Nov 2013
October 31st, 2013
Groundwork USA is thrilled to announce that 3 communities have been selected by NPS-RTCA and Groundwork USA for establishing new Trusts, pending the successful completion of a community-driven feasibility study in partnership with Groundwork USA. Taking place during 2014, the feasibility studies aim to help each Groundwork Steering Committee with: defining a vision, goals and objectives for its new Trust to undertake; identifying and prioritizing a slate of short-term and long-term projects and programs for the Trust to pursue; and planning for the fledgling Trust’s initial launch phase in its community.
Groundwork USA is pleased to announce our three potential new Trust communities, located in:
• Atlanta, Georgia
• Indianapolis, Indiana
• Jacksonville, Florida
For further information, please contact Anjali Chen at: anjali [at] groundworkusa.org.
October 24th, 2013
Yesterday the 21CSC (21st Century Conservation Service Corps) National Council announced that Groundwork USA has been selected as a 21CSC member organization through our modeling of the core values that 21CSC represents, including increased diversity and expansion of opportunities for all youth and veterans, especially creation of service and job opportunities for those populations, restoration our natural resources, connection of Americans to the country’s lands and waters, effective recruitment of the next generation of public employees, and development of the next generation of conservation stewards.
Along with its network affiliates Groundwork Cincinnati, Groundwork Denver, Groundwork Lawrence, and Groundwork Milwaukee, Groundwork USA is part of an initial cohort of organizations helping young people and veterans accomplish meaningful work, gain important personal and professional skills, and also build a lifelong connection to the outdoors. Along with partners like Groundwork, the 21CSC National Council will continue to promote 21CSC principles in the hope that many more organizations will join the ranks of our partnership to lead our nation’s conservation movement well into the 21st Century.
To learn more about 21CSC, or to apply to become a member organization of the 21CSC National Council, please click here.
September 11th, 2013
We thought we would share the inspiring story of a mural project in Newburgh, New York. Groundwork Hudson Valley, based in Yonkers, is currently expanding its work into Newburgh by partnering with other local non-profits in Newburgh (also located in the Hudson Valley area) – here’s the story of the Newburgh mural by the artist Dasic Fernandez.
August 26th, 2013
Twenty youth and 9 youth leaders from 9 Groundwork Trusts across the country are at Yellowstone National Park this week, for the second annual Groundwork USA Corps experience at Yellowstone. Read about it and see photos here Groundwork USA Corps Experience in Yellowstone National Park and GWUSA Youth Green Corps Dispatches from Yellowstone #2, of the hard-working, interesting and fun experience that urban youth from the Groundwork network are having. The goal of the week-long program is to provide diverse youth with the opportunity to work in Yellowstone alongside park professionals on a variety of projects and to tour this magnificent park. Youth traveled from Bridgeport, CT, Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, Dona Ana County, NM, Milwaukee, WI, Somerville, MA, Portland, OR, Washington, DC and Yonkers, NY, to Yellowstone NP.