top of page

The Team


We know the who matters. All work is relational, so here's who is behind groundwork.

Groundwork is the result of our combined three decades on-the-ground leading programs, organizations, and networks, as well as supporting nonprofit boards and collective impact groups. We've created first-of-their-kind programs, developed models that have led to game changing results, facilitated a broad array of systems change efforts, challenged the status quo, and lost our minds and found them again along the way. 

These experiences led to an appreciation that good ideas and good work grow because the basics have been well tended (and that often has to do with how individuals show up). To grow more good, Groundwork takes a first things first approach, and as the work of strengthening society turns on the strength of our individual connections, we always begin with relationships.


Joe Herrity


"Whatever you're doing, you'll learn far more about it by diving in, getting going, and making a mess. The real learning occurs the moment the rubber meets the road. Taking action is the surest path to progress." 

I'm an action-oriented coffee snob with a preference for Detroit style pizza and 20 years on the ground leading programs, organizations, collective impact projects, and networks. Somehow I've avoided being pigeonholed in education, workforce, or youth development, as my experience cuts across and weaves between all those. That might be the result of working with and listening closely to young people who experience all these things at once as life. I'm most motivated when working on efforts to integrate programs and services on behalf of marginalized young folks and communities.

My most important identity is as a dad to two rad kids. When I'm not hanging with them or at work you'll find me heading down hill on a snowboard or mountain biking, training Brazilian jiu jitsu, or buried in a book. 

Top 5 Clifton Strengths:

Strategic / Activator / Input / Learner / Individualization

About: Team

First Things First


We begin with relationship building and roughly align our approach to the Appreciative Inquiry 4-D approach of discovery, dream, design, destiny.

1 // Begin with relationships.

We begin with relationships, because all work is relational and the people who do the work have plenty of wisdom and illuminating wonders. In this phase we aim to "locate, understand, and illuminate what are referred to as the life-giving forces of any human system’s existence; its positive core."

2 // Listen to the data

To phase one human data we add other forms of data, through review and/or creation, to help us appreciate context and complexity while searching for the signal. We do this through review of existing materials, creation of surveys, and hosting of focus groups.

3 // Focus on solutions

With qualitative and quantitative data in hand we move to identify solutions. This can include designing new programs, assembling a strategic plan, creating a beneficiary listening campaign, or engaging in board development. Whatever the shape of the result, we use a generative and interactive process to find creative solutions, with an eye toward feasibility and viability.

4 // Collaborate to get things done.

Finally, with a clear sense for context and a defined purpose, we collaborate to get things done, always remaining respectful of capabilities and capacities.


  1. Your people are your most important resource and their skills and their ability to apply those skills are the only tools you have. Great organizations invest in strengths-based processes and actively promote self-awareness to help teams become more than the sum of their parts.

  2. Clients/beneficiaries/participants/users possess profound, mission-critical insight. Great organizations need systems to reliably hear and lift up the insight of those with the most to gain for lose from its success or failure.

  3. Good governance is inclusive. Great organizations build routines and structures that create clarity and rhythm, and use common language and transparent process. And they understand that governance must be a process of radical inclusion not another process of structural exclusion.

About: About
bottom of page