Groundwork USA Receives a $6 million investment from the Bezos Earth Fund

Groundwork youth examine climate-caused erosion in the Trotters branch of the Elizabeth River prior to repairs of the riverbank.

ELIZABETH — Groundwork USA is a network of affiliated nonprofits, called Groundwork Trusts, working to improve the environment in cities across the nation. Groundwork Elizabeth, the only New Jersey–based Groundwork Trust, was founded in 2003 as a way to build a more sustainable and equitable community. For more than two decades, Groundwork USA–affiliated trusts have worked hand in hand with residents to transform neglected urban land and waterways into community assets that foster connection, health and resilience.

On Thursday, Dec. 9, the Bezos Earth Fund announced the awarding of a $6 million grant to the Groundwork network. Funding from this initiative will accelerate efforts to address the effects of the climate crisis through ambitious, nature-based, community-driven resilience projects that engage residents in the process of building safer and healthier neighborhoods.

Jonathan Phillips, executive director of the Elizabeth-based Groundwork Trust, said he is looking forward to working with Groundwork USA to identify initiatives that can help address climate concerns in New Jersey’s fourth largest city. “As an example of the urgency of the climate crisis, this past October, our community was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Ida, exacerbated by manmade factors. People lost their lives. We are eager to put programming in place that can help mitigate these threats from happening again in the future.”

Launched in 2020, the Bezos Earth Fund is a $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs and private-sector entities that are taking critical action to combat the climate crisis, preserve and protect the natural world, and support climate justice. With support from the Bezos Earth Fund, Groundwork USA will work with individual trusts to tackle environmental restoration projects that provide tangible climate resilience benefits to residents of climate-vulnerable neighborhoods.

Stephen Burrington, executive director for Groundwork USA, said he is looking forward to the impact this funding will have on programming in trust communities. “The harm caused by the climate crisis is growing exponentially in communities across the Groundwork network. With support from the Bezos Earth Fund, Groundwork Trusts will leverage their deep personal knowledge of the challenges faced by residents in front-line communities to accelerate their response to the climate crisis with the level of urgency demanded of us at this moment.”

To learn more about Groundwork USA and its environmental restoration and climate resilience efforts, visit To learn more about or to contact the Elizabeth-based trust, go to the Groundwork Elizabeth website,, or send an email to

Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Phillips