Washington, D.C. March 17, 2009---On St. Patrick’s Day 2009, Groundwork Lawrence (GWL) joined members of the Groundwork USA (GWUSA) national organization for a presentation in partnership with the Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Revitalizing Older Cities Task Force in a room reserved in the Cannon House, in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the meeting was to engage Federal support for Groundwork’s growing effective program for urban sustainability. As we build our collective capacity to respond to the vast needs experienced by marginalized communities across the country, GWUSA is seeking an investment in our projects, programs and operations by the Federal government to help us continue achieving our mission and goals at the local level.
Moderated by active partner Greg Lewis of the Northeast-Midwest Institute , the presentation room was packed with guests with National perspectives (legislators and Federal agencies) who listened, asked questions, and appeared to be motivated to support the Groundwork mission for recognition in Federal legislation.
Amongst the invited guests, Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas spoke on behalf of her local Groundwork organization, Groundwork Lawrence, citing the many successes of the program. Sacha Cruz & Wanny Muñoz, youth members of GWL’s Green Team, spoke about how Groundwork has changed their lives personally, citing the need to be role models in their community. The youth highlighted their work on cleanups and projects and how these experiences have enhanced their self esteem and propelled them to continue their education past high school.
Groundwork was formed in 1996 by an initiative between the EPA and National Park Service Rivers and Trails Assistance Program and individual cities, and is dedicated to the mission of “changing places, changing lives”. GWL was established in 2001. Currently there are 21 cities throughout the US with either active trusts or doing a feasibility study to create new trusts.
Prior to the presentation, GWL also took the opportunity to speak to EPA staff. From their positive response, GWL plans to continue to reach out to additional Federal agencies in the near future. GWL Executive Director Kate O’Brien said, “When the guests of the forum saw the Lawrence Green Team members speak personally about how their lives were affected by Groundwork, there was a resounding thunder of applause. Groundwork is positioning itself uniquely as more than a representative of the Green movement…we are truly a people movement”.
Groundwork Lawrence is part of Groundwork USA, a growing national network of Trusts working to stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods in older industrial cities across the US. Our work is more important now than ever before, and is consequently attracting more interest and attention than ever—especially from legislators who are part of the Northeast-Midwest Revitalizing Older Cities Coalition. In this period of fiscal responsibility and containment, Groundwork USA has shown itself to have the ability to leverage $15 to each $1 Federal dollar.