Start a Groundwork Trust

Want to Start a Groundwork Trust in Your Community?


We are currently in the process of evaluating and improving our selection process to better support applicants and future Groundwork communities. Please join our mailing list to stay up to date on the latest Groundwork USA announcements and be the first to know when the next selection process opens.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about the Groundwork model and the application process in detail, view this free informational webinar, held June 4, 2019:



During and following the “Starting a Groundwork Trust in Your Community” webinar, we received great questions about the Request for Proposals and overall process for starting a Groundwork Trust. We are sharing these questions and answers below.

Download the Starting a “Groundwork Trust in Your Community” Q&A

If you have questions about future opportunities, please contact Stacey Moran, Director of Operations 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 Maria Brodine, Network Weaver at Groundwork USA (