Whole Cities Foundation
Whole Cities Foundation is the newest member of the Whole Foods Market family of foundations. This new non-profit organization is dedicated to supporting efforts that bring fresh, nutritious food and broader access to healthy eating education to underserved communities.
By building collaborative partnerships with community organizations that are poised to make significant impact in their neighborhoods, Whole Cities Foundation aims to help improve individual and overall community health and wellness in the U.S.
“Providing fresh, healthy food has been a driving force for Whole Foods Market for 35 years, and as we’ve continued to expand, it’s become increasingly clear that there is a real and immediate need for more healthy choices and educational resources in underserved communities,” said Walter Robb, Whole Foods Market co-CEO and Whole Cities Foundation board chairman. “We founded Whole Cities Foundation to create solutions together with like-minded local partner organizations that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on health and wellness in the communities we serve.”
The Foundation is an expression of the company’s core values —serve and support local and global communities and promote the health of stakeholders through healthy eating education— in action and will complement the work of Whole Foods Market‘s individual store teams by providing additional resources for team members, customers, partner organizations and communities.
Executive Director, Meredith Smith
Whole Cities Foundation will be led by Executive Director, Meredith Smith, who brings more than two decades of experience in non-profit leadership and public health, and a deep passion for healthy food access and public service. Smith will work to co-create the long-term vision of Whole Cities Foundation, develop grant programs, and create integrated community health outreach models with partner organizations in key markets throughout the country. Whole Foods Market confirmed it will commit $1 million in seed funding to inaugurate the Foundation.
The Foundation’s first collaborative partnership will be with the ReFresh Project, which was recently cited by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as one of the most promising models for eliminating food deserts, revitalizing neighborhoods and building healthier communities. The Foundation has committed $100,000 to ReFresh’s Community Health Outreach Program and will work hand-in-hand with ReFresh, Tulane’s Prevention Research Center and other ReFresh partners on developing, piloting and evaluating the program, including the training and launching of community health workers.
“By collaborating with, supporting and learning from our dedicated community partners who are engaged in building healthy communities where nutritious food is accessible to everyone, Whole Cities Foundation will be able to develop models for community health and wellness that can help serve cities across the U.S.,” said Meredith Smith, executive director for Whole Cities Foundation. “We are excited to launch the Foundation by initiating and piloting programs in New Orleans, a vibrant city that is committed to being healthier and investing in educational resources that will help bring lasting change.”
Whole Cities Foundation is not currently accepting unsolicited grant requests. Our initial scope of work will focus on New Orleans, Englewood (South Chicago) and Jackson, MS. In the coming months we will formalize our process for engaging with the many community organizations with whom we will partner.