At Groundwork Project, we invest year-round in local community organizing. With a primary focus on Appalachia, the Deep South, and the Plains, we play the long game. Day to day, year to year: We show up to help build durable civic and political infrastructure in communities that have been overlooked, excluded and disenfranchised.

Meet our first four partner states. And stay tuned for more!

Alabama

Alabama's rich political history features some of the most history-changing local organizing of the Civil Rights Era - and some of our nation's most stark setbacks to justice and equity in the form of white supremacy. Reckoning with this juxtaposition offers a path to durable power-building and progress over the next ten years.

Beginning with the infamous "Southern Strategy" of the 1960s, the conservative movement executed a successful effort to wrestle near-complete political control in Alabama at the local, state, and federal level. They've used this power with reckless abandon in recent years, imposing myriad voter suppression tactics, a near-total ban on abortions, and a transgender athlete ban.

Nevertheless there are signs of real opportunity and hope for the road ahead including demographic shifts, a broad base of likely voters committed to a more progressive future, and a vibrant, multi-racial coalition of 501c3 and 501c4 organizations and local political leaders working creatively and collaboratively to execute a long-term plan to undo conservative dominance in the state. Sustained organizing is needed to engage likely voters, listen, and build trust.

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Alabama grantees

United Women of Color

Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Executive Director:
Angela Curry
Website: www.unitedwoc.org
Social:

Based in Huntsville, United Women of Color was founded to empower women, girls, and their families in Madison County. From their "Vote Gone Viral" campaign to register and turnout disenfranchised voters during COVID-19 to their community advocacy around local police reform and  youth program for middle-school girls: United WOC is deploying grassroots civic engagement to build power for this generation and the next.

Faith & Works Collective

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Executive Director:
Cara McClure
Website: www.faithandworkscollective.com

Faith & Works Collective is a non-partisan, social justice organization based in Birmingham, AL. F&W are committed to transformative outreach that enhances the quality of life for the underserved and underrepresented and alters the political landscape. Through direct action, F&W strives to build sustainable power and restore hope into disenfranchised communities.

Alabama Values Progress

Location: Montgomery/Birmingham, Alabama
Executive Director:
Anneshia Hardy
Website: www.alabamavaluesprogress.org
Social:

Alabama Values Progress is a 501c4 media advocacy organization working to amplify the voices and values of Alabama’s growing progressive electorate by creating content and messaging strategies that disrupt the cycle of misinformation, and tear down the frames of disinformation. AVP's strategy is to leverage the power of culture, visual stories, messaging, and research to build and share public narratives that amplify pro-democracy voices and values.

People's Budget Birmingham

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Campaign Director:
Gabriel Cabán Cubero
Website: https://peoplesbudgetbirmingham.org/

People’s Budget Birmingham is a grassroots coalition focused on giving Birmingham residents a say in how the city spends tax dollars. The group uses a participatory budgeting model, where community members are surveyed about how they would like a portion of city funds to be spent for the fiscal year. The aim of PB is to involve citizens in the public decision process and to hold the mayor and city council accountable to the communities who elected them. Businesses and corporations in Birmingham often have a say in the budget, which results in corporate subsidies, while the local government takes away funding from social programs and city services.

Check back soon for updates on our work in Alabama

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Mississippi

For all of modern history, Mississippi has been the epicenter of some of our nation's most consequential fights for voting rights, racial justice and democracy itself.

Today, the legacy of Jim Crow echoes through the politics, public policy, and lived experience of residents in this still deeply segregated state. But there are signs of hope for growing progressive power in the electorate - as evidenced last cycle when voters overwhelmingly passed progressive ballot initiatives to remove the Confederate flag from its state flag and legalize medical marijuana.

With this in mind, local leaders have built on Mississippi's historic tradition of organizing and advocacy, working over the last five years to create critical infrastructure, develop voter engagement strategies and expand data capacity. But more resources are needed to overcome generations of racial disenfranchisement and build equitable power for all residents.

To counteract the powerful forces of white supremacy and segregation still at play in the state, a deep, sustained, and year-round effort is needed to engage young, Black voters, activate sporadic voters (particularly those in rural areas that have lost faith), and to implement long-term strategic persuasion campaigns aimed at shifting moveable white voters around a more progressive future.

mississippi grantees

Mississippi Workers' Center

Location: Greenville, Mississippi
Executive Director:
Jaribu Hill
Website: https://www.msworkrights.org/
Social:

For 25 years, the Mississippi Workers' Center has been organizing and advocating for low-wage workers in the Mississippi Delta. They serve on the frontlines of some of the most entrenched injustices and oppressions in the entire United States and advocate for the radical idea that the working poor should be treated with dignity, humanity and respect.

SHERo Mississippi

Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Executive Director:
Michelle Colón
Website: https://www.sheroms.org/
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SHERo (Sisters Helping Every Woman Rise and Organize), is a Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Collective working to build leadership and collaboration among Black women/femmes and Black women-led groups and organizations through education, training, and technical assistance.

Quitman County Development Organization

Location: Quitman County, Mississippi
Executive Director:
Robert L. Jackson
Website: www.qcdo.org

Quitman County Development Organization (QCDO) exists to serve the communities in the Mississippi Delta by empowering individuals, families, and organizations to improve the quality of life in the region. 

Immigrant Alliance for Justice & EQUITY

Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Executive Director:
Lorena Quiroz
Website: https://www.iajems.org/

IAJE was formed in the immediate aftermath of the 2019 ICE raids in Mississippi where 680, mostly Indigenous Mayan folks, were taken from their communities. The organization's purpose since has been working with Latinx and Indigenous communities to create long-term immigrants’ rights infrastructures that benefit BIPOC immigrant populations. IAJE also has a strong LGBTQ+ program that seeks to support LGBTQ+ identified immigrants and their LGBTQ+ identified children in community, in immigration detention, and post-release from detention.

Check back soon for updates on our work in Mississippi

Oklahoma

Oklahoma made headlines this year for being the first state in the country to pass a near-total ban on abortion. Its state legislature routinely makes national news for being amongst the most regressive in the nation. Public education, in particular, has been systemically defunded for years, making Oklahoma ground zero for anti-CRT and other classroom censorship efforts sweeping the country.

This largely-rural state has the lowest voter turnout and highest incarceration rate in the United States and political leadership that remains a deep shade of red.

But Groundwork sees clear seeds of opportunity on the ground if the resources can be secured to grow them. The organizing ecosystem on the ground is climbing high, despite the odds. Efforts are underway to form the first-ever civic engagement table and grassroots donor alliance. Last year, local activists captured national attention for their successful efforts to secure clemency for death row prisoner Julius Jones. Demographics provide additional opportunity, with a fast-growing Latino population that will turn Oklahoma City into a majority-minority city by 2030. And with 39 federally-recognized native tribes, Oklahoma’s native communities provide additional areas of opportunity, if approached with attention, respect and care.

Make no mistake: The political road ahead in Oklahoma is extremely difficult for those committed to a more just and equitable future for all. But that is precisely why Groundwork is choosing to work here. If we can get the incredible local organizers and leaders on the ground resources to educate, activate and engage voters they will write a new political story for Oklahoma’s future.

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Oklahoma Grantees

Julius Jones Institute

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Executive Director:
Cece Jones-Davis
Website: https://www.justiceforjuliusjones.com/

The Julius Jones Institute (JJI) is the primary progeny of the Julius Jones Coalition. This organization led the efforts to prevent the execution of Julius Jones from 2017 to Fall of '21, stopped an Oklahoma House leadership bill to limit actual innocence claims presentation to the Parole Board in Spring '22, and has grown a large-scale, grassroots voter engagement campaign running currently to impact 2022 elections.

Oklahoma PLAC

Location: Oklahoma, statewide
Executive Board Treasurer:
Melissa Abdo
Website: https://www.okplac.org/

OKPLACs mission is to inform and engage parents and the community in advocating for a strong, equitable public education system for all children. OKPLAC serves as an umbrella organization for approximately 15 local PLAC chapters and affiliate Oklahoma grassroots organizations that share our purpose. Their local chapters represent parents and public school advocates in urban, suburban, and rural communities across the state.

Check back soon for updates on our work in Oklahoma

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West Virginia

The premier front for some of the most consequential labor battles in modern American history, West Virginia spent decades defined by proud populism, a distinct economic identity, and a deeply rural livelihood. But its rightward turn has been stark. Hollowed out political infrastructure has left progressives largely hamstrung in efforts to address the impact of the generational decline of the steel and coal industries on policy, politics, and public opinion in the state.

The only way to build back depleted trust is a coordinated, sustained, and several-cycle deep-canvassing effort, led by trusted, local community members, to persuade voters who have lost faith that a progressive future will benefit them and their loved ones.

A growing organizing ecosystem on the ground is ripe for additional investment as it begins to implement smart and sustainable strategies. From expanding 501c3 and 501c4 civic engagement tables to an energetic populist coalition, we see a rising generation of leadership who will change the trajectory of the state if they can secure the resources to do the work.

west virginia grantees

Black Voter Impact Initiative

Location: Charleston, West Virginia
Executive Director:
Dr. Shanequa Smith & India Frith
Website: https://bviiwv.com/
Social:

Black Voter Impact Initiative is a Black-led, grassroots initiative to embrace, educate, and empower BIPOC voters. With a focus on young people, BVII is training the next generation of Black youth organizers to change the political trajectory of West Virginia.

West Virginia Rivers

Location: Charleston, West Virginia
Executive Director:
Angie Rosser
Website: www.wvrivers.org

A leading environmental group in the state, WV Rivers is focused on promoting the overall health of West Virginia's waters and their downstream benefits & using civic engagement to build political power and affect change. This grant is a unique planning grant to develop a long-term, place-based climate strategy in coalition with other leading climate and environmental groups on the ground.

West Virginia Faith Coalition

Location: Morgantown, West Virginia
Executive Director:
Reverend Jenny Williams
Website: wvfaith.org

WVFC is a brand-new effort to seek justice and liberation for people who have been historically marginalized in our state. Working together with leaders and organizers from those populations, our coalition will provide community organizing training, coaching and support to clergy and laity and serve as a platform for collective action at the state and local levels around legislation and community needs. The coalition will facilitate relationships between people of faith and local organizers/activists, moving people of faith from acts of charity to solidarity, mutual aid, and advocacy.

West Virginia United Caucus

Location: West Virginia, statewide
Steering Committee Member:
Nicole McCormick
Website: https://www.wvunitedcaucus.org/

WV United is a caucus of rank-and-file members in AFT-WV and WVEA. Its goal is to educate, increase union participation, and to activate education employees statewide to tackle legislative and policy issues that affect our schools, students, and communities. WV United successfully led the historic statewide strikes of 2018 and 2019. They also tackled COVID precautions and set up a reporting system for cases in schools.

Check back soon for updates on our work in West Virginia

Massachusetts

While not an official focus state, the work begins at home. Groundwork Project will always be doing the work in Massachusetts! 

To the outside, Massachusetts may appear to be an improbable fit for Groundwork's mission. With its liberal reputation and wealth of progressive representation, it's easy to assume that our state lacks little when it comes to blue infrastructure, coalitions and capacity. That reality is much more complicated and reveals a state wrestling with profound racial, social, economic and political disparities. 

Consider this: This past election cycle, wealthy, white suburbs around Boston saw voter turnout hovering as high as 90 percent. Meanwhile communities of color and Gateway Cities saw two-thirds of that, at best. In 2018, people of color made up nearly 20 percent of eligible voters, but cast only around 10 percent of all ballots - a power gap of nearly 50 percent.

We believe that dramatic investment in community organizing is the only way for Massachusetts to address this systemic divide in political power and build a Commonwealth that is as inclusive, representative and innovative as its reputation leads the nation to believe.

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massachusetts grantees

Democracy HUBS

Location: Statewide, Massachusetts
Conveners:
Massachusetts Voter Table & MassVOTE
Website: https://mavotertable.org/

The Democracy HUBS are a group of six community organizing collectives across Massachusetts dedicated to tackling our state's pervasive economic, racial, and social disparities by building civic power in BIPOC and working-class communities.

Check back soon for updates on our work in Massachusetts

Groups We Love

This list is always growing! Is there a group we should hear about? Let us know at team@groundworkproject.com