Whole Cities Foundation Awards 59 Community First Grants to Support More Equitable and Sustainable Local Food Systems

Whole Foods Market Team Members Nominate and Partner with Nonprofits
Oct 14, 2021 8:00 AM ET
Press Release

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 14, 2021 /3BL Media/ — Whole Cities Foundation, a nonprofit broadening community access to fresh food and nutrition education, announced today that this fall it will award 59 Community First Grants to locally led nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Foundation’s Community First Grant Program supports local partnerships between Whole Foods Market Team Members and nonprofits with programs focusing on long-term fresh, healthy food access and community health. Grant partners will receive an average of $8,000 each for a total investment of $470,000 by Whole Cities Foundation. Throughout the duration of the grant year, Team Members grow the relationships with their grant partners through volunteer and other engagement opportunities to help advance neighborhood health. 

"The magic of the Community First Grant Program comes from the relationships between Whole Foods Market Team Members and their community partners,” said Dianna Purcell, Senior Grant Programs Manager at Whole Cities Foundation. “Team Members are known for being dedicated to their communities and energized by community engagement. The Community First Grant Program taps into this passion, and I am in awe of the power and potential that these relationships generate."

The list of this year’s 59 nonprofit grantees spanning 43 cities in 21 states and Canada can be found here. The Community First Grant Program aims to amplify the impact of innovative solutions set in place by these community leaders. Their projects include: 

  • 19 urban farms

  • 9 nutrition education and healthy cooking classes

  • 8 community gardens

  • 8 mobile markets

  • 6 agricultural skills development programs

  • 5 farmer’s markets, co-ops and grocery stores

  • 4 SNAP and WIC incentive programs

"This year, more than 40% of nominations are returning community partners,” said Purcell. "Despite the instability of the past year and a half, the strong connections between Team Members and their community partners have endured.”

Since launching the Community First Grant Program in 2016, Whole Cities Foundation has awarded 283 grants in 120 cities, investing $1,731,000. More than 160 Team Members from 85 Whole Foods Market stores, 11 regional offices, and Global Support have participated.

For more information on Whole Cities Foundation’s Community First Grant Program, visit wholecitiesfoundation.org/grants/community-first-grant-program. For a deeper look at how some of this year’s grantees are growing resilient local food economies, read about Landmark Training Development Company in Memphis, Tenn. and Central Texas’ Farmshare Austin on Whole Cities Foundation’s blog or listen to the profile on Hebni Nutrition Consultants in Orlando, Fla. on the Foundation’s Healthy Food for All Podcast.



Whole Cities Foundation works alongside community-based organizations to improve neighborhood health through collaborative partnerships, nutrition education, and broader access to fresh, healthy food. Founded by Whole Foods Market in 2014, the independent, nonprofit organization is based in Austin, Texas and has partnered with more than 195 community organizations in more than 100 cities across the U.S. to build thriving local food systems and improve health. Through vibrant grant programs, Whole Cities Foundation supports community gardens, urban farms, pop-up produce stands, agriculture skills development, farmers’ markets, mobile markets, healthy cooking classes and other community-directed initiatives. The Foundation’s signature medical nutrition program Let’s Talk Food is offered in Detroit, Newark, NJ and Chicago’s Greater Englewood neighborhood. For more information on the Foundation and its programs, visit wholecitiesfoundation.org. For ongoing news and updates, follow Whole Cities Foundation on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.