2020 Community First Partner Page

We’ve loved supporting your work to expand access to healthy food and nutrition education, and we’re so honored that you’re interested in the 2020 Community First Grant! 


Application closes on July 22, 2020 at 11:59pm CST! 

To apply:

  • Review the eligibility criteria below to ensure this grant will be a good fit for your work.
  • Click the link to access our application on Submittable. If you have an account, please enter your email and password to log in. If you are new to Submittable, please create an account.
  • Upload your materials to your application. Please be prepared to upload:
    • 5-10 media released, high-res photos
    • IRS 501(c)3 Letter of Determination
    • Funding Request Form (Download here)
    • Organizational Financial Statement Form (Download here)

Check out Eligibility Requirements, Application Tips, and the FAQ below.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Has your organization previously received funding through the Community First Grant program? Find a list of previous CFG partners here.
  • Will your project help broaden access to fresh, healthy food and/or nutrition education in your community?
  • Is your organization locally led? Are members of your organization residents of the community you serve? Not all members of your leadership, staff, and board must be residents of the community you serve, but robust community representation is important to us.
  • Does your work focus on long term food access or nutrition education? This grant will NOT be the best fit for food/produce redistribution or donation programs.
  • Does your organization have strong community engagement? Do you request and use feedback from your community?
  • Is your program focused on serving adults and/or older youth (ages 16-22)? This grant will NOT be the best fit for programs focused on children or based in schools. For K-12 grant opportunities, learn more about our sister organization, Whole Kids Foundation.
  • Are you willing to submit a mid-grant and an end of grant report to communicate your progress?
  • Is your organization registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit or are you partnered with a 501(c)3 nonprofit?


Application Tips

  • Submittable does not support Internet Explorer. Please use Mozilla FireFox or Google Chrome for your application. 
  • You don’t need to complete it in one sitting. You can save your application and come back to it.
  • You can use any email address to complete the application. It does not need to use the same email address used to complete previous applications or reports.
  • If you have technical issues filling out the application or with your Submittable account, please contact the very helpful Submittable team: support@submittable.com
  • If you can’t remember your password, please follow Submittable’s instructions to reset your password.



What is the Community First Grant Program?

The Community First Grant Program is designed to support locally led organizations that are increasing access to fresh, healthy food and nutrition education in neighborhoods with few options. We know that Whole Foods Market Team Members are active participants in their communities, and since 2016, Team Members have nominated nonprofits in their city that are building a healthy food system. Eligible organizations were then invited to complete a grant application. Whole Cities has been proud to support 137 organizations through this program. 


How is this year different from years past?

Based on input from Whole Foods Market Team Members (TM) and discussions on our team, we have decided to forego the TM nomination portion of the CFG program this year and invite all current and previous CFG partners to apply for an $8,000 grant. This change was made out of respect and support for Team Members’ and community partners’ time and energy as they address urgent and ongoing priorities related to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent protests for racial justice.


How many organizations will be selected?

We anticipate funding 30-40 organizations with grants of up to $8,000 this year. We made this decision in January 2020, as we want to make deeper investments and build stronger relationships with exceptionally aligned organizations and refocus on our mission of funding locally led, community support efforts. 


Can I apply if I currently have an active grant? 

Yes! All current and previous Community First Grant Partners are welcome to apply. Find a list of previous CFG partners here.


Can funding be used for overhead and operational expenses?

Yes! The Community First Grant does not restrict the amount that may be used for overhead or operational expenses.


When will I find out if my organization has been selected?

We will be in contact with all applicants in mid-September.


How will WFM TMs be involved in 2020?

While we are not having Team Member nominations this year, Team Members are of course welcome to volunteer with their CFG partner in any way that meets the needs of your organization, the capacity of the Team Member, and that is safe for all involved.

A group of Team Members representing a range of roles and locations will also be involved in reviewing applications. These Team Members’ recommendations will be taken under consideration when determining grant partners.


What if I am no longer in contact with the Team Member who recommended my organization?

Let us know in the application and we’d be happy to reconnect you with either the Team Member who nominated you or, if that Team Member is no longer with Whole Foods Market, with a new contact at their store. 


What is the plan for the 2021 CFG Program?

We hope to return to the regular process for TM nominations next year, but we will announce any updates or changes closer to April 2021.


What if I have more questions?

We’d love to hear from you! 

  • If you have technical issues filling out the application or with your Submittable account, please contact the very helpful Submittable team: support@submittable.com
  • If you have questions about Whole Cities or the Community First Grant Program, please contact Dianna Purcell at dianna.purcell@wholefoods.com

Meet Community First Partners

  • Partner Programs Reimagined: Urban Farms

    Learn how some Community First Partners are reimagining their urban farms during this critical time.

    Read More

  • Partner Programs Reimagined: Community Gardens

    Learn how some Community First Partners are reimagining their community gardens during this critical time.

    Read More