As I contemplated writing this annual letter and fundraising appeal, I asked myself what I could possibly say that you don’t already know. Many of you reading this letter have been following Groundwork Somerville for much of our 15-year journey, and even you newcomers likely had a sense of what you were getting into. What can I say that hasn’t been said before? And what can I say that will inspire you to reach for your checkbook or credit card and send a gift to a small nonprofit at a time when finances are already stretched thin by presents, holiday travel, and the other worthy charities who have no doubt asked of you the same?
The answer, I decided, is to simply remind you why you probably became interested in us in the first place: we are changing places and changing lives. I feel very lucky to work at a place where we can literally watch those changes take place. In 2014 I got to watch as 20 young people–members of our Green Team–created the city’s largest urban farm practically overnight in what had been a vacant, illegal dumping ground for the last several years. Now, it’s a growing field producinghundreds of pounds of tomatoes, kale, callaloo, and much more that goes to the most food insecure areas of our city.
I also got to watch as those same young people–mostly underserved teens from low-income backgrounds–grew from shy strangers to into stunningly confident team members who can just as easily harvest a quarter-acre urban farm and bring it to market as tell you why food insecurity is a crucial justice issue of our time. I think of someone like Tony, who barely spoke for the first 2 weeks I knew him. By summer, he was leading the rest of the team around the city in a bicycle convoy and directing a crew in the construction of our greenhouse. Tony was also one of four youth, some of whom had never been on a plane before, who we were able to send to Yellowstone National Park for a 10-day service trip this past August, with youth from around the country.
Even though Groundwork is well-known for our strong environmental initiatives, for me, it always comes back to the people. These young people inspire me with their passion and dedication to their teammates, their city and a better future world. My only wish is to pay back that dedication with more opportunities for them to change their worlds and their lives.
And that, as you might expect, is where you come in. Please, consider giving to Groundwork Somerville if you want to see more people with access to fresh, healthy affordable food; if you want to see more green spaces, gardens and farms; if you want to see more jobs for low-income youth; Every dollar counts. In fact, every dollar counts double, giving a young person a job, and putting food on plates and seeds in the ground.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Tania, who joined Green Team this summer, and continues to be a leader with Groundwork Somerville: “Are you interested in knowing the supreme moment of my life? I am a member of the Green Team . . . where there is not only fun work but also a way to help our community.”
Happy Holidays, and thank you for contributing today to Groundwork Somerville.
To make a tax deductible donation, you can click the links above, or mail a check to Groundwork Somerville, 24 Park St. #7, Somerville, MA 02143
Want to know more about what your investment does?
- $60,000 builds out the newest urban ag site at the ArtFarm, including a full-scale, year-round greenhouse and new fruit trees;
- $40,000 funds a year-round educator to administer seasonal curriculum to over 2,000 elementary students
- $20,000 hires a grants manager – an investment in the future of Groundwork Somerville
- $10,000 supports the Maple Syrup Project: four-weeks of classroom presentations and activities, including tapping urban maple trees and boiling the collected 300 gallons of local maple sap.
- $4,000 funds one Green Team youth for a full year
- $2,500 builds a new community or school garden
- $1,000 sends one youth to Yellowstone National Park
- $500 gets 3 working bikes into our youth bike fleet
In 2014, generous donations to Groundwork Somerville funded:
- The expansion of the South Street Farm: quadrupling the size of Somerville’s only urban farm
- The new hydroponic “Innovation Farm” (seen at the right)
- 33 jobs for young people on the Green Team and National Park Preservers
- Healthy, affordable food for 700 families
- 11 school gardens
- 400 pounds of locally grown produce
- 41 Community Events
- A fully restored bicycle fleet for the Green Team
- A brand new water connection at the South Street Farm
- A 10-day service learning trip to Yellowstone National park for 4 Green Teamers and their youth leader.
- The “supreme moment” of one young woman’s life
Please donate now to keep Groundwork Somerville in the green!