Developing a Local Groundwork Trust

In October 2013, NPS-RTCA & Groundwork USA announced that 3 communities had been selected in the most recent competitive round to enter the Feasibility Study phase in developing new Groundwork Trusts:

Atlanta, GA
Indianapolis, IN
Jacksonville, FL

NPS will issue the next RFP for communities considering the Groundwork model sometime during the 2014-2015 timeframe. The RFP will be posted here as soon as it is posted on If you have questions about the application process, please contact the National Park Service staff identified in the announcement, or contact Anjali Chen at Groundwork USA: anjali [at]

PROCESS STEPS IN DEVELOPING A NEW GROUNDWORK TRUST: The development of new Groundwork Trusts is lead by the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program in partnership with Groundwork USA.  The first step in the process is to learn about the Groundwork model, and the work of our local Trusts nationwide and to discuss this opportunity with other stakeholders in your community.  If the Groundwork mission and approach is in line with your community’s needs and goals, and you think there may be interest in developing a Groundwork Trust, then contact Groundwork USA (GWUSA) or the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance Program (NPS) for more information.

Establishing a new Groundwork Trust is a multi-step competitive process.  An interested community establishes a steering committee of diverse stakeholders and applies to the National Park Service (NPS) for consideration.  If selected, they work with NPS and Groundwork USA to evaluate Groundwork for their community and to submit a full proposal for Groundwork USA Pilot Funding and Technical Assistance.  If their proposal is selected they then work with NPS and Groundwork USA on an in-depth feasibility study.  Upon completion, if the final decision is to establish the new GW Trust, NPS provides seed funding and technical assistance to help launch the new Groundwork Trust in partnership with Groundwork USA.

Groundwork Trusts become members of Groundwork USA, a network of like-minded, independent, non-profit organizations.  The network is coordinated by the Groundwork USA national office.  Benefits from being part of the Groundwork USA network include:

  • access to national and regional resources, including funding, best practices, training programs, operating systems and organizational assistance,
  • participation in a network of like-minded organizations working toward similar goals with opportunities to exchange and share experiences, and
  • use of the Groundwork USA name and identity and the national profile, reputation and influence they impart.

Though each Groundwork Trust is responsible for its own affairs, it is also responsible to act in the best interests of Groundwork USA and to manage its business to the highest possible standards.  Those standards are outlined in the Groundwork USA Memorandum of Understanding which the organizers and Board vote to accept when they established their Groundwork Trust.  Under the terms of the Membership Agreement, each Trust and the Groundwork USA national office are accountable to one another to fulfill the tenets of the Agreement and build the good name and reputation of Groundwork USA.

If you are interested in learning more or being notified when the next RFP is announced by NPS for GW USA Pilot Funding and Technical Assistance, please contact us at Groundwork USA.