Frequently Asked Questions
Groundwork Project supports local community organizers in the toughest political terrain for Democrats and progressives. We help them scale their efforts via financial assistance, digital amplification, capacity-building, and other forms of direct aid.
Groundwork Project is a 501c4 advocacy organization with an unlimited federal PAC.
Your generous contribution supports Groundwork Project’s operations (like paying the staff that support our amazing partners on the ground) as well as assists us in providing direct financial assistance to our partner organizations, via the Groundwork Grants program. Groundwork Project supports both 501c4 and 501c3 organizations, as well as political action committees.
At this time, Groundwork Project is focused on supporting community organizers in three regions: Appalachia, the Deep South, & the Plains.
We’ve chosen these regions because we believe they have most acutely felt a lack of attention and resources from the Democratic Party. They tend to get written off as too tough or not worth it. We strongly disagree. It’s all the more reason these places need investment in long-term infrastructure building. And if they got it, they could change the trajectory of their state, our political map, and the entire country.
That’s why we are not focusing on traditional battlegrounds or emerging battleground states—the majority of organization-based, national, and high-dollar Democratic resources are already going there. We created Groundwork Project to show up where many others are not and to help fill a gap on the map when it comes to long-term, meaningful, and sustained investment in democratic infrastructure-building. Within our three regions, our first three partner states are Alabama, Mississippi, & West Virginia. We plan to roll out additional partner states in the months and years ahead, slowly building a deep and wide footprint across the “toughest” Democratic terrain.
Groundwork Project was born in Massachusetts, where its founder is based. Staff members and advisors work remotely. While MA will always be home and a focus of our investment, we intend to build a national operation with a diverse and digitally-connected team.
- A focus on the “toughest” places: The vast majority of dollars and attention from national groups funding community organizing goes to traditional battleground states. We focus on regions that others don’t, committed to systemically tackling the three toughest spots on the map for progressives: the Plains, Appalachia, & the Deep South.
- A commitment to multi-year investments: We are focused on ten-year plans, not two-year plans, because creating infrastructure requires sustained, year-round organizing which requires sustained, year-round resources.
- A deference to local leaders: Our job is to give the best local community organizers the additional resources and support they need to do more of the good work they’re already doing; not tell them how to do that work. We are partner-led and listen to what they need, rather than assuming we know.
- A depth of work. We show up and go deep. We don’t just write checks and move on. We build relationships in our partner states and work tirelessly to understand the local landscape, build trust with local leaders, and become valuable partners on the ground.
We offer support via direct financial assistance and grantmaking, donor cultivation and introductions, grassroots digital fundraising, social media spotlight, volunteer support, leadership training, and other capacity-building assistance we may be able to provide.
Groundwork Project prioritizes sharing the stories of our local partners via our digital platforms in order to help familiarize the national Democratic community with the work being done on the ground in states that don’t typically get sustained attention – and inspire them to invest in this history-changing work.
You can submit a nomination form here, for your group or a group you love. Here are some helpful criteria to get you started. You don’t have to meet all this criteria, but the more the better!
- Geographically based in Appalachia, the Plains, & the Deep South. At this moment, we are specifically focused on our first three states: Alabama, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
- Small, hyperlocal groups that are trusted messengers in their community
- Commitment to civic engagement and organizing as a vehicle for power-building in disenfranchised communities
- 501c3, 501c4 or PAC status
- BIPOC-led, women-led
- Track record of success (even if it’s short!) & clear strategy for growth
Please note that Groundwork is in its very early stages and just getting the Groundwork Grant program off the ground. We will be making a handful of strategic investments this year as we build out our budget for additional grants in the years ahead.
You can! If you need an introduction or advice on where best to directly send resources in our partner states, drop us a line and we will share with you everything we know. Connecting our partner organizations with funders directly is a big part of our work.
What we bring to the table is a commitment to multi-year investment informed by a holistic picture of the progressive organizing and infrastructure-building landscape across our partner states – and a well-informed, locally-sourced view of where the areas of greatest need and highest impact are. This is what drives the Groundwork Grant program.
Groundwork Project supports groups doing the deep organizing that sustainable political infrastructure requires, no matter the issue or constituency. We recognize that there are different issues that motivate communities to organize. We follow the lead of local groups; for one group, that might mean advocating for environmental justice, for another it might be advocating for immigrant social services, and for another criminal justice reform. We know that in the partner states, organizers are intersectional by necessity, fighting on all fronts.
Former Congressman Joe Kennedy is our founder and deeply involved in the long-term vision for Groundwork Project. Over his years in office, Joe traveled the country extensively to help elect Democrats. This gave him a first-hand view of where our Party has not shown up as meaningfully as it should; and the consequences of that, not just for the political map but for people’s lives. After leaving office, he founded Groundwork Project to re-direct the networks, resources, and assets he built up during his time in Congress, towards the local community organizers who need support most.
Groundwork Project has an active presence in Massachusetts, our home state and base of operations. This work is its own unique track, separate from the ‘tough terrain’ that anchors our national footprint, but mirrors those efforts in focus and priorities.
In Massachusetts we are committed to supporting hyperlocal community organizers and organizations that are working to build power in working-class & BIPOC communities across the state. We know that deep and painful disparities exist in our so-called “progressive” state and hope to be active partners in remedying these inequities in political access, engagement, and infrastructure.
In particular, Groundwork is proud to support the Democracy HUBS, a group of six community organizing collectives across the state, working on integrated voter engagement in our Gateway Cities and other historically excluded communities.
To learn more about the work of the Democracy HUBS, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Only US citizens or Green Card Holders. Groundwork Project is a federal PAC and cannot accept contributions from foreign nationals.
Like other political contributions, contributions to GWP are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. If you are interested in directly supporting any of the 501c3 groups in our network, please reach out: email@example.com.