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.