Groundswell (organization)

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Type non-profit
Founded 2009
Founders Will Byrne
Headquarters Washington, D.C.

Groundswell is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that uses collective buying power to drive positive social change. Groundswell was founded by Will Byrne and a group of friends who had previously worked together on the Barack Obama presidential campaign.[1] As of July 2014, Groundswell has helped over 3000 people and 300 organizations switch to 100 percent wind-powered energy.


Groundswell was founded in 2009 by Will Byrne and a group of friends who had previously worked on the 2008 Barack Obama Presidential Campaign. The organization operated under two previous names, The DC Project and Weatherize DC, before becoming Groundswell.[2] Groundswell chose Washington, D.C. because it is one of 16 places in the United States where residents are allowed to choose their energy suppliers.[3]

Organization Model[edit]

Groundswell uses the civic consumption model to assist people in using their combined consumer power to drive positive social change. Civic consumption is a consumption model that leverages shared buying power and rewards socially responsible businesses. According to the model, large institutions like corporations and universities, which own a network of properties are able to negotiate more competitive energy rates. Their sheer size gives them a competitive advantage because energy companies want to retain their business. Creating networks which leverage shared buying power operate under this same principal.[4] In 2012, Groundswell created the Civic Consumption Network. The Network comprises organizations using a similar business model, including EveryoneOn, First Book, and the Freelancers Union [5] Most recently, Groundswell created an internal innovation hub to test ways that the model could be used to address social issues in addition to clean energy, such as hunger, sexism, unemployment, climate change, and income inequality.[6] Following a Lean Startup model, the social innovation hub is testing these ideas with minimum viable products.

Clean Energy[edit]

Will Byrne in April 2014

Groundswell works across the mid-Atlantic U.S. in windpower and energy efficiency The organization has completed over $10 million in clean energy projects and generated over $1.5 million in community reinvestment. The organizations works with other non-profit organizations to make clean energy accessible to low-income communities and organizations within these communities.[7] Groundswell worked with NAACP’s Baltimore headquarters to switch the organization to 100 percent wind power. Additionally, the organization saved $7000 dollars on its annual energy bill after the switch.[8]


The Groundswell magazine brings readers news and lifestyle tips about sustainable living trends, social responsible businesses, renewable energy practices and other social innovations that align with the organization’s mission.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Power in Numbers: Crowd Purchasing Brings Clean Energy Within Reach" Grist, Retrieved on 16 May 2012
  2. ^ "One on One: Going Green with Your Friends" Urban Turf, Retrieved 1 June 2012
  3. ^ "Business Report June 22 2014" Washington Business Journal, Retrieved 22 June 2014
  4. ^ “When it comes to energy prices, small business, nonprofits find there’s power in numbers” Washington Post, Retrieved on 25 March 2012
  5. ^ "4 Innovators Using Civic Consumption to Change the World" Forbes, Retrieved on 23 December 2013
  6. ^ About us
  7. ^ "Community Groups Join Forces to Support Clean Energy and Saved Money" Good Magazine, Retrieved on 10 April 2012
  8. ^ “NAACP Takes Up the Clean Energy Fight” The Root, Retrieved on 14 May 2012
  9. ^ Magazine

External links[edit]