Start a New Groundwork Trust

Want to Start a Groundwork Trust in Your Community?


In August 2017, National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program and Groundwork USA selected Mobile, Alabama, as a new community for the Groundwork program.

The community is currently working with Groundwork USA to complete their feasibility study, a six-month process to assess how a local Groundwork Trust would be established and sustained over time.

Funding is now in place to select a new community for the Groundwork Program. The selected community will be eligible for up to $200,000 in funding and technical assistance from the National Park Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, and Groundwork USA to plan, establish, and build the capacity of a Groundwork Trust organization in their community.

Groundwork USA is now accepting Letters of Interest from communities wishing to begin the process of applying for Groundwork USA program funding and technical assistance and to join the Groundwork Network. For complete details on the application and selection process, including eligibility requirements, submission details, and evaluation criteria, download the Call for Letters of Interest.

Letters of Interest must be received by Groundwork USA by April 30, 2018.

To learn more about the Groundwork model and application process for starting a new Groundwork Trust in your community, join us for an informational webinar on February 27, 2018.

You can also view a webinar recorded December 16, 2016  to learn more about the Groundwork model and the application process (NOTE: the dates and timeline in this video reference the previous solicitation for new Groundwork Trusts. For the current timeline, refer to the 2018 Call for Letters of Interest.)



View the slides from the December 13, 2016 webinar:



If you have questions about the application process, please contact Stacey Moran , Program, Policy and Resource Manager at Groundwork USA (

The Groundwork Trust Model

Groundwork Trusts are members of Groundwork USA, a network of like-minded, independent, non-profit organizations. The network is coordinated by the Groundwork USA national office. Benefits of 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 the Groundwork brand imparts.

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 Trust organizers and Board of Directors vote to accept when they established a new 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.

Process to Develop a New Groundwork Trust

Establishing a new Groundwork Trust is a multi-step competitive process led by Groundwork USA in consultation with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

  1. The first step in the process is to learn about the Groundwork model and the work of our network of local Trusts nationwide. Discuss this opportunity with other stakeholders in your community to determine interest.
  2. 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, establish a steering committee of diverse stakeholders and submit a Letter of Interest to Groundwork USA.
  3. If selected, the steering committee works with Groundwork USA and NPS to evaluate how a Groundwork Trust could work for your community and to submit a full proposal for Groundwork USA Pilot Funding and Technical Assistance.
  4. Selected communities then work with Groundwork USA and NPS on an in-depth feasibility study. Upon completion, if the final decision is to establish the new Groundwork Trust and the local public and private sector match funding is committed, Groundwork USA and NPS provide seed funding and technical assistance to help launch the new Trust.

 If you have questions about the application process, please contact Anjali Chen, Trust Services Director at Groundwork USA.