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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Environment, Urban & Community Economic Development, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Groundwork Lawrence, Inc. a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has been making change happen in Lawrence, Massachusetts since 2001. Through its environmental and open space improvements, community food programs, youth education and employment initiatives, and community programming and events, Groundwork Lawrence creates the building blocks of a healthy community, and empowers Lawrence residents to improve their quality of life. Groundwork Lawrence achieves results by engaging the whole community – residents, non-profit organizations, city government and businesses – in the planning and realization of its projects. With this collaborative approach, Groundwork ensures that all stakeholders are mutually invested in its outcomes, the key to stable neighborhoods and sustainable change. Groundwork’s mission and operations are premised on the understanding that environmental conditions are inextricably linked to the economic and social health of a neighborhood. As a consequence, Groundwork is committed to “changing places and changing lives” through on-the-ground projects that help to transform local communities. To accomplish this, Groundwork leads and supports a variety of partnership-driven efforts that bring together the public, private and non-profit sectors to solve complex environmental problems and sustain a long-term vision for neighborhood change and renewal. The formal mission of the organization is “to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment by developing community-based partnerships which empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being.” Our projects and programs are designed to: • Increase Opportunities for Physical Activity through the development of parks, trails and recreational facilities that are safe, welcoming and accessible to all; • Increase Access to Healthy Food by creating a citywide network of community and schoolyard gardens, managing the Lawrence Downtown Farmer’s Market and expanding access to community-supported agriculture; • Improve the Quality of Our Air, Water and Land through brownfield redevelopment, volunteer cleanups, tree planting, and integration of low-impact development techniques; • Support Biodiversity by implementing habitat enhancement and restoration projects; • Reduce Energy Consumption through the development of pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and the use of locally-sourced and recycled materials for project construction. • Prepare young people to be positive role models and future leaders in their community.

Geographic areas served: Lawrence, MA

Programs: Environmental improvements - working to make greater lawrence a cleaner, greener healthier place to live. Its environmental improvement projects focus on making underutilized outdoor spaces safe, accessible and attractive. Gwl projects transform vacant and often contaminated open spaces into parks, playgrounds, gardens, wooded trails and pathways, promoting healthy pursuits like walking, running, cycling and gardening.

fresh food access - increasing access to high-quality fresh produce, enabling residents to make health food choices for themselves and their families. Groundwork's community food programs combine fresh food access with education in an effort to reduce the city's disproportionately high rates of diet-related disease.

education & job training - developing a new generation of environmentally engage leaders and employable residents to strengthen an expanding green economy by providing opportunities from crayons to careers.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 4

I am the Executive Director of an organization that provides skill-based volunteers to help nonprofits. Knowing the broad breadth of work this organization has in the City of Lawrence to improve the the neighborhoods from the ground up, I was expecting to find an office with at least 50 staff members. I was astounded to find only 5. What makes them so successful? They are brilliant professionals, knowledgeable in civil engineering and community organizing. They keep their ear to the ground to hear what the needs are of the residents they serve. The take best practices for running a nonprofit very seriously. And they are fueled by a passion to improve this city of hope. Their past several executive directors could run a large for-profit company, but instead, they are committed to a mission. Their hours are long. Their talents are extensive. And their mission is an imperative to the success of the city.


Board Member

Rating: 5

I got introduced to GWL through my neighbors & friends. They invited me to GWL's annual fundraiser event called Glow Gala, where there was live music, food, dancing, eco-art for sale and raffles. At this event I learned about just how much great work this organization was doing in the city in relation to parks & open spaces, locally supported agriculture, youth involvement, and much more. What stood out to me the most was the youth presence, their passion and camaraderie. They were genuinely proud of their work helping the environment and wanted to get more people to join in their transformative efforts. I fully support Groundwork Lawrence in their endeavors to motivate and mobilize the youth of the City to lead and promote initiatives for their local environment, and I highly suggest you do as well!