Whole Cities Foundation is built on a spirit of collaboration. As we invest in local partnerships to expand access to fresh, healthy food, we also work in concert with like-minded supporters such as Michele’s Granola who collaborate, fuel our work and ultimately, help more communities transform their health.
Since 2021, Michele’s has given nearly $100,000 to Whole Cities Foundation and several of our community partners. Dianna Purcell, our Senior Grant Programs Manager, explains the value of this generous support, “Growing community health needs to be a shared effort, so relationships have always been at the heart of Whole Cities Foundation’s work. Michele’s Granola has a steadfast commitment to advancing access to fresh, heathy food and nutrition education, and their deep support of our grant programs and community partners is helping to strengthen locally led efforts and sustainable solutions in the U.S.”
Read on to discover how this small business is making a big impact on community health.
Get to Know Michele’s Granola
Michele’s has been making small batch granola from scratch, prepared fresh daily by hand with simple, organic and GMO-free ingredients since 2006. (Buy it online or at your local Whole Foods Market!) And, it’s also recognized for its commitment to improving healthy food access and supporting local food entrepreneurship. Through their Give One for Good Food program, Michele’s donates 1% of sales to organizations leading the way towards healthier, more equitable food systems. Awards are made annually to nonprofit organizations across the U.S. with innovative, locally led approaches to addressing the nutritional needs of their communities.
“As a business leader in food, it’s my responsibility to bring visibility to the inequities in our food system and to support those who are developing creative solutions to address them at the community level,” explains Michele Tsucalas, founder and owner of Michele’s Granola. “My reason for founding Give One is simple: I believe everyone deserves good food.”
In alignment with this mission, Michele’s is providing funding for Whole Cities Foundation and several of our community partners in distinct, impactful ways such as the Local Leaders Pilot Grant, the Community First Grant, Michele’s Granola Small Business Challenge, and through donations made from purchases of Michele’s Granola at Whole Foods Market.
Local Leaders Pilot Grant
Michele’s made a $30,000 commitment towards our Local Leaders Pilot Grant, which aims to amplify the efforts of community thought leaders and organizers dedicated to expanding access to healthy food and nutrition education. This grant is offered by invitation only to a select number of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. with a desire to share their innovations, learnings and best practices with a wider audience.
Michele’s selected Memphis-based Landmark Training Development Company to receive multi-year funding. Landmark Training is committed to improving community health and increasing economic opportunities for residents through fresh, locally grown food. Their community-led, multi-faceted approach is rooted in holistic nutrition, sustainability and empowerment. They operate a farmer’s market, a youth urban farm training program, a food pantry and an urban outreach center. Now, financial support from Michele’s is helping the organization expand their manufacturing, as well as increase nutrition education opportunities through the addition of a community kitchen/educational center. (Read more about Landmark Training’s work.)
In addition, Michele’s donated 1% of sales from their — now sold out! — Limited Edition Golden Mylk Granola to Landmark Training.
Community First Grant
Our Community First Grant Program supports nonprofits focused on long-term fresh, healthy food access and nutrition education that are engaged with Whole Foods Market Team Members (employees) in the U.S. and Canada. Team Members nominate community led organizations for a $9,000 Community First Grant and commit to volunteering with the grantee during the grant year. Past grant recipients’ initiatives have included community gardens, urban farms, mobile markets, agricultural skills development programs, healthy cooking classes, and more.
This year, Michele’s is funding a Community First Grant for Brooklyn-based United Community Centers, a social justice driven community center that has been serving the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn for more than 60 years. Their urban agriculture project East New York Farms! includes a youth internship program, which is the country’s largest youth-run farmer’s market. In addition to grant funding, Michele’s is also providing in-kind products for community events with residents and its youth interns.
Join Michele’s Granola Small Business Challenge
Michele’s believes that businesses can be powerful sources for positive social change.
With this philosophy at the forefront, Whole Cities Foundation and Michele’s launched the Michele’s Granola Small Business Challenge, which encourages other mission-driven food and beverage businesses to provide Community First Grants to locally led nonprofits across the U.S. working to expand healthy food access.
If you’re a purpose-driven food and beverage company interested in helping to build thriving local food systems, you’re encouraged to join.
“We are challenging fellow small businesses in our industry to match our efforts and participate in creating resilient local food economies,” explains Michele Tsucalas. “Together, we can champion community-led projects that transform community health.”
For more information on the Michele’s Granola Small Business Challenge, check out this FAQ and the sponsorship benefits.
Crunch for a Cause
This May, Michele’s is doing even more!
From May 3 – May 16, 2023, Michele’s Granola will donate $0.45 for every item purchased at U.S. Whole Foods Market stores to Whole Cities Foundation — up to $15,000. (Yes, your purchase of delicious granola can help expand fresh, healthy food access.) This is in addition to other committed donations from Michele’s for a total of $40,000!
Whole Cities Foundation is grateful to have support from such a dedicated partner like Michele’s Granola as we work to amplify locally led projects that advance community health, and we welcome other businesses with a passion for positive social change to join us in our efforts.