The Canal Winchester Times

GroundWork group helps other nonprofit organizations

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

What at first looks like an odd bit of punctuation in the name of a Columbus-based nonprofit organization is very much on purpose.

GroundWork group doesn't capitalize the letter G in "group," Chief Executive Officer Scott Caine said last week, because the work, not the organization, is the emphasis.

The group has headquarters on the Northwest Side and a branch office in Santa Ana, Calif.

"We want to make sure that what we're doing is focusing on the action, not the organization," Caine said.

"Our organization was founded with the idea that we're here for the community. We're a community resource."

That resource is somewhat "hidden," the Worthington resident added. Not that many people know what GroundWork group is or what its employees do.

"It's not important for us to market ourselves aggressively," Caine said.

GroundWork group was incorporated in 2005 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization with the vision to be a community solutions center, bringing together nonprofit organizations, funders, IT professionals and businesses to provide affordable and sustainable information technology solutions which serve as a strategic enabler of nonprofit business success, according to the organization's website.

"We are a nonprofit technology company directly supporting the nonprofit community in Columbus, Ohio, and also across the country," said Caine, CEO since March 2012.

What became GroundWork group merged in 2008 with the older Columbus Information Via Computer, or CIVIC, a collaborative project of the Columbus Foundation and the forerunner of America OnLine.

It grew out of research conducted in 2003 by officials with the United Way of Central Ohio that indicated the top barrier to capacity-building for nonprofit organizations was technology, the website states.

Caine was a part of that original founding committee and was on the board when GroundWork group came formally into being eight years ago.

One of the newest members of the GroundWork group team is Frank Deaner.

The Dublin resident retired in 2010 after 20 years as executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association.

"I still wanted to stay connected in some way professionally," he said.

Deaner was only "vaguely familiar" with GroundWork group when an agency that specializes in placing part-timers with associations sent him to the Northwest Side office.

"Since being on the inside here for about six months, I'm very impressed," Deaner said.

He added his position of operations consultant enables him to be the "inside guy" for GroundWork group in terms of developing greater efficiency and improving financial operations, freeing Caine to be the "outside guy" doing more fundraising efforts in behalf of the nonprofit.

One recent satisfied customer of GroundWork group is the Northland Area Business Association.

The nonprofit community organization had a completely new website created under a contract with GroundWork group.

"They were instrumental in helping us," NABA President Dave Cooper said last week. "They did a phenomenal job. They're a good team to work with."

Since its inception with no members, GroundWork group has grown to have more than 230 nonprofit organization members in central Ohio, California, Michigan and Virginia.

While the Columbus area, with its robust nonprofit scene, will continue to be the main focus for GroundWork group, Caine said 2014 may bring an expansion of the program to many other parts of the country.

As a result of expertise gained in bringing technology solutions to organizations that don't have the in-house expertise and couldn't afford the services of professional IT firms, Caine said team members can now customize tools more quickly.

"It may require us to grow, but that's a good thing," he said.

Caine said the strong and varied nonprofit environment in central Ohio has enabled GroundWork group to have the success it has enjoyed so far.

"We feel particularly blessed to be part of this nonprofit community," he said.

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