Gaining Ground
Viewers Guide

Filmed in Boston during the Great Recession, Gaining Ground (2013) shows how the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), an innovative community group, prevents foreclosures and provides opportunities for young people in one of the city’s most diverse and economically challenged neighborhoods. The documentary follows a new generation of Dudley Street neighborhood leaders as they build on a 30-year legacy of cutting-edge community organizing to foster hope and create opportunity in challenging times.


Gaining Ground is a sequel to the award-winning documentary Holding Ground (1996), which tells of DSNI’s earlier groundbreaking work to revitalize a community devastated by bank redlining, arson-for-profit and illegal dumping

This viewer’s guide is intended to help any interested viewer, but especially those using Gaining Ground in an academic setting. Educators can use the ideas given here to craft lesson plans around the film and put it in context. Students can use this material to revisit issues and questions raised by the film and dig deeper into the themes it explores. If you are an educator or trainer and use Gaining Ground in your classes, or a facilitator using it in another setting, please consider adding to this guide by sharing how you use it here.