Groundswell International, Inc.
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW
10th Floor
Washington DC 20009
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Mission Statement Groundswell International strengthens rural communities to build healthy farming and food systems from the ground up. 
Women in Burkina Faso retreiving water from a well for use in their vegetable gardens.
Contact Information
Contact Name Steve Brescia
Contact email
Address 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW
10th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Phone (202) 832-9352
County County
Alternate Phone 202 8329352
How to Give
Donate to Endowment
Other ways to donate, support or volunteer
If you prefer to send a donation in the mail, please send to our Washington DC office at 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $2,029,291.00
Projected Expenses $2,029,291.00
History and Background
Supported Organization Groundswell International
Year Founded 2009
IRS Ruling Year 2009
State Registration Expiration June 2019
Mission Groundswell International strengthens rural communities to build healthy farming and food systems from the ground up. 
Innovating approaches to overcome the most stubborn development challenges does not happen by chance. It can only happen by design. Groundswell International was created for just this purpose. Groundswell’s founders sought to develop an organizational structure that served as a laboratory for grounded innovation.

As a community of practice, we draw on decades of shared learning and the development of effective strategies across programs and borders, and we work together to catalyze the transition from conventional, unsustainable agriculture and rural development models, to farming and food systems that strengthen the capacity and wellbeing of local people and communities, are ecologically sustainable, resilient to climate change, socially just, nutrition-sensitive and restorative for local economies, cultures and societies at large. While program strategies vary in relation to the differences in partner organizations as well as challenging and evolving national and regional contexts, we share a commitment to ‘people-centered’ development that affirms the agency, innate capacity and dignity of all people to improve their own lives, live sustainably with nature, and create healthy communities and societies.

Today, the Groundswell network works across 10 countries in West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South Asia, directly engaging tens of thousands of smallholders farmers to improve their farms agroecologically.  We strengthen the capacity of these family farming households, living some of the most marginalized rural communities in the world, to address the root causes of food insecurity, malnutrition, economic vulnerability, gender inequity and social marginalization, with a practical, “learning by doing” approach that builds participants’ resilience and self-sufficiency while meeting their immediate basic needs.
The organizational needs that we have identified are: 
  • Capitalize Groundswell's Global Innovation Fund to invest in cutting-edge methodologies and technologies being generated by Groundswell partners and the communities we support;
  • General operating support to enable Groundswell to respond quickly to priority needs in the field;
  • Sponsors and supporters for our annual Global Partnership Conference that allows our partners around the world to share and document their strategies for scaling effective programs; and,
  • Volunteers to help mobilize a wide base of support.
CEO/Executive Director Statement

Dear Friends,

Family farmers must work creatively and tenaciously, day after day, month after month, to transform their lives. There are no quick fixes or silver bullets – not if you want to return after 10 years and find that a family has truly gained the lasting capacity to improve their lives.

The process is about farmers constantly innovating with nature, regenerating barren land, growing more food and earning more income for education, health care and other needs. It is a process that continues season after season, and spreads farmer-to-farmer. Community organizations must become strong so they can sustain their work long after external support ends. Farmers must gain a seat at the table to shape policies that allow their local efforts to thrive.

This is the step-by-step work that Groundswell International does. We work with our partners and communities around the world to build healthy farming and food systems from the ground up.

Lankoande Francois is a powerful example of that. I met him a couple of months ago in Burkina Faso, and was amazed by what he and his family have accomplished since 2012. Your support has made that possible. Now Lankoande is also a part of a local farmer-to-farmer movement we are supporting that is reaching over 10,000 families to greatly improve their farms and food production like this.

To do this work, we need to guarantee that we can accompany farmers like Lankoande along this journey, month-by-month. If you are able, please join us in that commitment. For $10 a month or more, you will join Groundswell as a sustaining monthly donor and be there every step of the way.

Together we can get there.

-- Steve Brescia, Executive Director and Co-Founder

Area Served
Area Served
Geographic Area Served
We support sustainable agriculture and food systems in developing countries across the globe. Groundswell currently has partners and programs in Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mali, Nepal, and Senegal.
Service Categories
Secondary Organizational Category Food, Agriculture & Nutrition/
Tertiary Organizational Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building/
Description Since 2011, Groundswell has worked with four NGO partners in West Africa: Agrecol Afrique in Senegal, Association Nourrir Sans Détruire (ANSD) in Burkina Faso, Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) in Ghana, and Sahel Eco in Mali. Together we strengthen the capacity of family farming households living in some of West Africa's most marginalized rural communities with a practical, “learning by doing” approach that builds participants’ resilience and self-sufficiency while meeting their immediate basic needs. Our approach seeks to: reinforce and strengthen the capacity and creativity of local organizations; encourage local initiative and innovation to allow people to substantially improve their lives; foster networks of collective learning, support and documentation of effective strategies; develop context-sensitive monitoring and evaluation systems focused on broadly shared goals; and widen impact by linking community-based initiatives to wider alliances, networks and social movements that promote agroecology and sustainable local food systems.
Population Served Africa Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent At-Risk Populations
Description Since 2009, Groundswell has worked with three NGO partners in the region: EkoRural in Ecuador, Vecinos Honduras in Honduras, and Partenariat pour le Developpement Local (PDL) in Haiti. In 2015, with formed a partnership with Qachuu Aloom in Guatemala, and then in 2018 with Centro de Desarrollo Integral Campesino de la Mixteca (CEDICAM) in Mexico. Together we strengthen family farmers and communities in each country to improve agroecological farming, increase and diversify food production, and establish and strengthen farmer-managed enterprises and strategies to aggregate, store, process and sell food to local consumers. More than in other regions where Groundswell works, in Latin America and the Caribbean we focus on strengthening farmer-managed seeds systems for climate resilience and food sovereignty, and on developing innovative approaches to better connect family farmers to local consumers and markets.
Population Served Latin America & the Caribbean Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent At-Risk Populations
Since 2014, Groundswell and the Nepalese NGO Baudha Bahunipati Project Pariwar (BBP-Pariwar) have supported women from the “untouchable” dalit caste living in remote areas of Central Nepal. By giving women access to capital and livestock through savings and credit groups (S&C groups) and by training women in agricultural techniques and livestock management, our program is helping these women to achieve greater control over the productivity of their farms and to develop new ways to earn much needed income. This approach quickly and substantively increases food security and incomes, while improving women’s self- confidence, position in their communities, and ability to lead their own development. We are presently working to expand this program into the Indian state of Bihar, which is located in the northeastern part of the country on the border with Nepal.
Population Served Asia Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent At-Risk Populations
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Steve Brescia
Start Date Sept 2009
Experience Steve Brescia is the Executive Director of Groundswell International and one of its co-founders. Mr. Brescia has over 25 years of experiences supporting international development, social change and grassroots advocacy. From 1996-2009 he worked for World Neighbors in positions including Area Representative for Mesoamerica and Haiti; Latin America Regional Coordinator; and Associate VP for Program Learning and Innovation – facilitating the documentation of a program methodology guide. He previously worked for the Inter-American Foundation, the International Liaison Office for President Aristide of Haiti, and with community-based organizations in Nicaragua. He holds an MA in International Development from American University and a certificate in Asset-based Community Development from the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University. 
Senior Staff
Rhonda DevanDirector of Finance
Christopher SaccoDeputy Director & Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinator
Number of Full-time Staff 5
Number of Part-time Staff 3
Number of Contract Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 10
Staff Retention Rate 100
Are professional development opportunities provided? No
Does CEO/Executive Director have formal evaluations? Yes
Management reports to board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 1
Other 2 African (Burkina Faso)
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 4
Organizational Plans
Fundraising Plan Yes
Policy against commission-based compensation for fundraising consultant Yes
Communication Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Yes
Number of Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Sept 2017
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policies and Procedures Yes
Board Chair
Name Vance Russell
Company Affiliation Ecosulis
Term Jan 2019 to Jan 2021
Board of Directors
List Current as of May 20, 2019
Board of Directors List
Ross BorjaEkoruralVoting
Afua BruceNew AmericaVoting
Perry CluttsPleasantview FarmVoting
Merrill EwertFresno Pacific UniversityVoting
Muthusami KumaranUniversity of FloridaVoting
Margaret MalloyVoting
B.Jan MiddendorfKansas State UniversityVoting
Eileen OldagCommunity VolunteerVoting
Vance RussellNational Forest FoundationVoting
Jay SlaughterJBS and AssociatesVoting
Mark StoneState DepartmentVoting
Jeannette TramhelOrganization of American StatesVoting
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 5
Board Term Lengths 3 years
Percentage of Board Making Monetary Contributions to the Organization 100 %
Percentage of Board Making In-Kind Contributions to the Organization 100 %
Board Orientation Yes
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Board Governance
Program / Program Planning
Current Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2019-Dec 31, 2019
Current Year Budgeted Total Income $2,029,291
Current Year Budgeted Total Expenses $2,029,291
Financial Documents
IRS Letter of Determination
Prior Three Years' Financial History
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Revenue$1,867,793$1,930,704$1,377,846
Total Expenses$1,831,154$1,742,507$1,571,216
Revenue Less Expenses$36,639$188,197($193,370)
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$559,038$0
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$293$134$231
Unrealized Gain/Loss$2,907$1,342($287)
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$1,478,325$1,453,084$1,337,032
Administration Expense$126,640$113,792$76,154
Fundraising Expense$226,189$175,631$158,030
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.021.110.88
Program Expense/Total Expenses81%83%85%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue12%13%12%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$841,989$789,897$531,942
Current Assets$598,936$669,058$486,370
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$103,531$88,078$18,320
Total Net Assets$738,458$701,819$513,622
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities5.797.6026.55
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Funding Sources
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions $1,863,767Contributions $1,371,195Contributions $1,372,402
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountRealized & Unrealized Gains/(Losses) $2,907Govt - Unspecified $559,038Earned Revenue $5,500
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountEarned Revenue $826Realized & Unrealized Gain/(Losses) $1,342Investment Income $231
Endowment? Yes
Endowment Spending Policy Percentage
Endowment Spending Policy Percentage (if selected) 5 %
Credit Line? Yes
Reserve Fund? Yes
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments on Financials
Foundation Staff Comments
All prior year financial information is from the IRS Form 990s.
Note:  2016 "Other" revenue ($1,005) was a loss due to exchange rate. 

Contributions may include foundations and corporations when the breakout was not available.

The financial information presented is obtained from the following sources: IRS Form 990, independent audit reports, financial statements – board approved when available, and supplemental information from the organization. We do not warrant or guarantee the timeliness, errors or inaccuracies. With respect to information regarding financial performance, nothing on this website should be interpreted as a statement or interpretation by OCCF staff.

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Address 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW
10th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Primary Phone 202 832-9352
Give to Endowment
CEO/Executive Director Steve Brescia
Board Chair Vance Russell
Board Chair Company Affiliation Ecosulis