We take our mission very seriously here at Groundwork: to protect the environment, strengthen the economy, and build community. But I want to make sure you know how we put that mission into action—and ask you to support us during our annual fundraising campaign.
PROTECT. We work to protect the environment by advocating for our natural resources. That means when we learned about a threat to our precious Great Lakes in the form of two 63-year-old oil pipelines running under the Mackinac Straits, we jumped into action, raised awareness around the state, and put pressure on our elected officials to act. That means we push for alternatives to fossil fuels. Our new community solar project here in northern Michigan seeks to get more panels on more rooftops. And that also means we push for a strong local food system to keep both our beautiful agricultural landscapes and proud farming heritage safe for generations to come.
STRENGTHEN. We firmly believe that Michigan’s economic strength stems from our thriving villages, towns, and cities. Downtown development is more than an environmental issue; it’s about our ability to compete in a fast-changing new economy. College graduates are choosing dynamic places where they can live downtown without a car, walk to work, enjoy a thriving cultural scene, and access recreation. We advocate for walkable streets, affordable housing, and a strong public transit system to make it easier for people to live, work, and spend money locally. Our food and farming program helps people identify food grown and produced locally, keeping those dollars in our own economy rather than sending them out of state, or out of country. And transportation alternatives like revived passenger rail service between Traverse City and Ann Arbor will not only bring more people and dollars to our local economy, but also to downtowns of other cities across the state.
BUILD. We work to build communities in everything we do—by engaging in dialogues with diverse groups that allow us to deliver real-life, common-sense solutions. By community, I mean a sense of citizenship, belonging, empowerment—that every person counts—and that there is power in including all voices. As we work toward resilience in our communities, a long-term goal for sure, it will take all of us to get there. In fact, our work is only as good as the people we work with, and we’re truly thankful for the thousands of supporters like you who make it all possible. Just look at our Harvest@theCommons event last month. It was an incredible night—with amazing food sourced locally, a chance to honor Senator Carl Levin with the Milliken Distinguished Leadership Award, and throughout it all, a real sense of community. It was a true pleasure to sit down with 600 of our friends and neighbors to enjoy such a special evening.
Protect. Strengthen. Build. That’s what we’ve been doing for 20 years, and what we’ll be doing for another 20 to come. I thank you for being a part of it.
Hans Voss is the executive director of the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities. He can be reached at email@example.com.