Meet Jim Lively

Director of Program Strategy | (231) 360-7222

A sublime moment for Groundwork’s Director of Program Strategy, Jim Lively: helping tend the CSA garden his daughter is starting on the family patch of Leelanau County land while a radio broadcast of a Tigers game drifts over the field on a summer evening.

Jim channels all of the elements of that experience—family, community, land and just plain having fun—in his position as director of program strategy. He works with program staff in food and farming, clean energy, and strong cities and towns to coordinate Groundwork goals, strategies, partnerships and messages. “I find it energizing to work with such dedicated and passionate people,” Jim says.

When Jim looks ahead, he’s excited to continue to apply the model that has helped Groundwork succeed, the model that incubates hands-on systems change solutions in northern Michigan, nurtures the new programs and, when success is clear, exports them to other parts of Michigan—and possibly beyond—so that far more communities can benefit.

In addition to working across all Groundwork program areas, Jim is personally focused on the issue of the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline. He was one of the first environmental leaders in the state to call for a shutdown of Line 5 and has continued to advocate for that position. A recent report he authored, "Canadian Profits, Michigan Risk," illustrated how little benefit Line 5 provides Michigan, and it received broad media coverage.

Good to know


Attended Michigan State University, earning a bachelor’s of science in Fisheries and Wildlife and a master’s in Water Resource Management and Resource Development.

In his spare time ...

Summers you will find Jim tracking his Detroit Tigers while tending outdoor chores. In winter, he cross-country skis and makes maple syrup. “My wife Kelly and I enjoy entertaining, and have been known to host a party or house concert.”

Favorite spot in northern Michigan

"A beach on Whitefish Bay near Point Iroquois lighthouse, where we have a family cabin."

Why the prop?

A Tigers cap and a shovel—Jim's baseball team and his garden soothe his soul.

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