Michael Ceraso

Co-founder,  Executive Director, President

Co-founder, Executive Director Michael Ceraso has been engaged with politics for as long as he could remember. While attending community college, Michael discovered that his school lacked the government and political career opportunities offered at a four-year institution. Michael went on to work on President Barack Obama’s first presidential run after he graduated from community college. However, he felt consistently behind his campaign associates who previously completed political internships, training programs and/or benefited from their collegiate networks. After working on several down ballot races, Michael returned home to earn his Political Science and Government degree from Pitzer College. His rise through the political ranks led him to manage statewide operations for presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. In between, he founded Winning Margins, an organization that lowers the barrier of entry for underfunded candidates who lack the financial resources and staff talent to compete.

Elizabeth Emerald

Co-founder, Program Director

Co-founder, Program Director Elizabeth Emerald developed her passion for education in high school, where she helped students learn leadership skills through engagement and project planning. She went on to earn a degree in Sociology from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Education from the University of Southern California. Elizabeth worked for several institutions of higher education throughout Southern California. As a meticulous project coordinator, Elizabeth created and implemented high-quality programs to improve the collective experience for school educators, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and students.

Elizabeth learned with the proper structure, plan, and team, an idea to improve the quality of life for others is possible.


Childhood friends Michael and Elizabeth partnered and co-founded Community Groundwork to deliver resources and job training programs for community college students interested in a career in political campaigns and government. Community Groundwork understands some students won’t raise their hands to participate civically without a front and center program to activate their curiosity and foster their creativity. 

This organization was founded to create a safe space for community college students with diverse backgrounds and experiences to discover who they are as a civic citizen. Community Groundwork provides access to the strongest political trainers in the country, which allows the organization to teach students the skills they want and need to have an impactful career in politics. 

Partnering with community colleges, local campaigns, and city and state agencies, Community Groundwork is ready to ensure talented students move through the professional pipelines of their choosing.