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 retriving water from a well for use in their vegetable gardens.
Contact Information
Contact Name Melissa Nussbaum
Contact email
Address 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW
10th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Phone (202) 431-5007
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 $1,990,298.00
Projected Expenses $1,990,298.00
History and Background
Supported Organization Groundswell International
Year Founded 2009
IRS Ruling Year 2009
State Registration Expiration Apr 2015
Mission Groundswell International strengthens rural communities to build healthy farming and food systems from the ground up. 

Groundswell is truly a partnership between like minded individuals throughout Latin America, West Africa, South Asia and the U.S.;  who are striving to create positive social change and drawing upon decades of shared experience in effective social change and work with marginalized rural communities.

Our collective assets include:

  • Highly skilled socio-technical personnel with decades of experience accompanying rural social change processes.
  • Effective methodology and principles developed through grounded action-learning and global sharing.
  • A track record of supporting positive changes in holistic, people centered development, focusing on sustainable agriculture, community and reproductive health, community-based natural resources management, gender, and capacity strengthening.
  • A grounded understanding of local contexts and well-developed local networks.
  • The ability to facilitate multi-stakeholder processes for learning, developing solutions and influencing.
  • Capacity to document methodology, case studies and evidence of impact.
  • The ability to bridge between community-based organizations and policy organizations.

Groundswell members share a commitment to contributing to the paradigm and practice of people-centered development.

Impact Groundswell International's core mission is to work with farmers to build a healthy, local food system from the ground up in Haiti, Honduras, Ecuador, Guatemala, West Africa (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Senegal), Nepal and the U.S. This is done by creating opportunities for rural farming families (roughly 375,000 people) that have experienced generations of marginalization; enabling farmers to grow more and healthier food for their families, earn a better living through the sale of local crops (with a focus of empowering women to become leading farmers and community advocates), and to become more resilient to climate change, conserving and regenerating their natural environment.
The organizational needs that we have identified are:
  • 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 
  • Capitalize Groundswell's Global Innovation Fund to invest in cutting-edge methodologies and technologies being generated by our partners and the communities they support 
  • Volunteers to help mobilize a wide base of support 
  • General operations support
  • Investing in people; the people we work with are what drive our success. 
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 projects in Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Mali, Nepal, and the Philippines.
Service Categories
Secondary Organizational Category International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security/International Development
Tertiary Organizational Category Food, Agriculture & Nutrition/

Few places face greater challenges to rural development than Haiti, yet nearly 60% of the country’s people still live in rural areas and are dependent on small-scale agriculture. Their rural livelihoods are under increasing stress, and then of course, there are the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake and the ongoing cholera pandemic.

Since 2009, Groundswell has partnered with Partenariat pour le Développement Local (PDL), a Haitian NGO, to address these challenges. We believe in and have articulated a 10-year vision of a prosperous and sustainable Haitian countryside as the foundation for national development. Together, Groundswell and PDL support numerous peasant organizations, representing over 250,000 people living in rural areas of Artibonite, Northeast, North, and West Departments. Our programs work to build the capacity of these peasant organizations and communities to lead their own development processes and to sustainably improve their agriculture, livelihoods, health, and resiliency.

Population Served Latin America & the Caribbean Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent At-Risk Populations

Farmers in Burkina Faso are suffering from the combined impact of a severe deterioration of their natural resource base, climate change, inadequate farming techniques and significant population growth. Everyday the danger of widespread famine grows.

Since 2010, Groundswell has worked with Association Nourrir Sans Détruire (ANSD), our partner in Burkina Faso, to strengthen community-led processes that can reverse this downward trend. Our program is improving the lives of thousands of farm families living in eastern Burkina Faso by spreading practical ecological farming methods (also known as agroecology) as well as sustainable livelihood solutions.

Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration of Trees (FMNR) is one of the most promising agroecological practices for the region. FMNR combined with other ecological agriculture techniques, such as rainwater harvesting and composting to increase organic matter in soils, dramatically increases food production and improves community resilience.

Population Served Africa Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent

Collapsing soil fertility, climate change and other factors are threatening the lives and livelihoods of family farmers in Mali and elsewhere in West Africa. In Mali, Burkina Faso and northern Ghana, some innovative farmers have successfully developed agro-ecological solutions, but formidable policy and institutional forces inhibit the spread of these strategies.

In 2013, Groundswell launched a two-year initiative called “Scaling Farmer-led Agroecology in West Africa”, partnering with experienced organizations in Burkina Faso (Association Nourrir Sans Détruire), Ghana (Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development), and Mali (Sahel Eco). These organizations have excellent track records and complementary skills in strengthening farmers’ organizations, promoting agroecology, generating documentation for the spread of effective practices, policy analysis and advocacy. This program amplifies their current work strengthening farmers’ and women’s organizations.

Population Served Africa Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent

Despite ambitious grassroots efforts to address the worrisome consequences of modern food systems, Ecuador still struggles to break free of forms of thinking, organizing and doing that underpin the foundation of our unhealthy food system. As a result, the country is heading towards a spiral of socio-environmental decline.

Since 2010, Groundswell International and EkoRural, an Ecuadorian NGO, have worked together to strengthen the capacity of community organizations in rural Ecuador to lead their own development processes that improve local food production and resilience and reinforce local food systems. The program is also strengthening local seed systems, promoting biodiversity (through more diverse local farming systems), and scaling-up alternative food networks that connect small-scale farmers to urban consumer markets in order to empower and increase income generation in rural communities while providing low-income urban families with access to healthy, affordable local food.

Population Served Hispanic, Latino Heritage Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent

The widespread, rapid decline in soil fertility in Ghana is reaching crisis proportions due to multiple, intertwined factors, making it ever more difficult for family farmers to grow enough food.

Since 2010, Groundswell has worked with the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) to address the soil crisis and resulting food shortages by spreading the adoption of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration of Trees (FMNR) and complementary agro-ecological farming practices.

These agroecological methods and techniques are improving rural livelihoods and food security through increases in food and fuel wood production, increased abundance of fodder for livestock and access to natural resource-based enterprise development. This in turn is contributing to enhanced resilience to climate change and reduced risk in rural communities by revitalizing the natural resources on which rural families depend.

Population Served Africa Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Females
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
Christopher SaccoDeputy Director & Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinator
Number of Full-time Staff 4
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 2
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 1
Other 0 1 African (Burkina Faso)
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 5
Organizational Plans
Fundraising Plan Yes
Policy against commission-based compensation for fundraising consultant Yes
Communication Plan Under Development
Strategic Plan Yes
Number of Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Sept 2012
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policies and Procedures Yes
Board Chair
Name Eileen Oldag
Company Affiliation Heifer International
Term Jan 2018 to Jan 2019
Board of Directors
List Current as of Feb 15, 2018
Board of Directors List
Ross Borja Ekorural, Executive DirectorVoting
Perry Clutts Pleasantview FarmVoting
Bernard Guri Centre for Indigenous Knowledge & Organizational DevelopmentNonVoting
Muthusami Kumaran University of FloridaVoting
B.Jan Middendorf Kansas State UniversityVoting
Eileen Oldag Community VolunteerVoting
Vance Russell National Forest FoundationVoting
Mark Stone State DepartmentVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 1
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 4
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, 2018-Dec 31, 2018
Current Year Budgeted Total Income $1,990,298
Current Year Budgeted Total Expenses $1,990,298
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 Year201520142013
Total Revenue$1,377,846$1,620,118$1,490,414
Total Expenses$1,571,216$1,491,107$1,436,328
Revenue Less Expenses($193,370)$129,011$54,086
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 Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions--$587,500$390,606
Investment Income, Net of Losses$231----
Unrealized Gain/Loss($287)$1,132$1,616
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind$2,902----
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$1,337,032$1,296,175$1,292,184
Administration Expense$76,154$73,411$62,097
Fundraising Expense$158,030$121,521$82,047
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.881.091.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses85%87%90%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue--8%6%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$531,942$759,805$594,417
Current Assets$481,349$470,454$543,487
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$18,320$52,813$16,436
Total Net Assets$513,622$706,992$577,981
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities26.278.9133.07
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Funding Sources
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions $1,369,500Foundation & Corporations $1,005,135Foundations & Corporations $1,093,955
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountEarned Revenue $5,500Individuals $587,500Individuals $390,606
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountRevenue In-Kind $2,902Earned Revenue $26,022Earned Revenue $4,005
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
Current year financial summary data is from the organization's IRS Form 990. All other prior year's financial information are from audited financials. Therefore, you may see some discrepancies in the breakout of revenue, expenses, totals assets and/or net assets going from the audited financials to the Form 990s.

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.

Organizations with a GiveSmartOKC profile are responsible for updating information annually within 45 days following the end of their fiscal year.

Address 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW
10th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Primary Phone 202 431-5007
Give to Endowment
CEO/Executive Director Steve Brescia
Board Chair Eileen Oldag
Board Chair Company Affiliation Heifer International