Guidelines and Eligibility

The Community First Grant Program is a new Whole Cities Foundation initiative designed to support Team Members who are actively engaged with community partners that increase fresh, healthy food access in neighborhoods with few options. 

To download a one-page summary about the program, click here.

To download this Guidelines and Eligibility Page, click here.

To watch a short video about the program, click here

How it Works

The program has a simple two-step application process:

  1. A Team Member completes a Community First Application in support of a community partner focused on fresh food access in their city.
  2. If the Team Member’s application is selected, then the community partner completes a Fresh, Healthy Food Access Grant Application. 

Whole Cities Foundation will offer support and resources to selected Team Members and will provide grants ranging from $5,000-$15,000 to their qualified community partners.

Goals

Through the Community First Grant Program, Whole Cities aims to:

  1. Support Team Members’ passion for community service, partnership, and fresh, healthy food access
  2. Extend the number of communities Whole Cities serves
  3. Promote WFM’s “community first” principles 

How to Apply

  1. Talk with the community partner you are recommending, let them know about the program and ask if they are interested. You can find a 1-page summary of the program that you can share with your community partner here. You can also find a letter you can tailor and share with your community partner to invite them to participate in the program here
  2. Make sure that you can answer “yes” to all of the eligibility requirements below before applying.
  3. Ask your Store Team Leader to complete the STL Support Form (found here) and send it to grants@wholecitiesfoundation.org by Wednesday, June 1
  4. Start your application here. Tell us about yourself, your team, your store, your city, and the community partner you are recommending. You will need to create a login and password to access the application. You can save your application and come back to it before completing.
  5. Complete your application by 5:00pm CT on Wednesday, June 1.

Process & Timeline

April 20: Team Member Community First Application opens

June 1: Team Member Application and STL Support Form due

July 1: Notification sent to Team Member applicants

Team Members will be notified if their application has been selected.
If selected, your community partner will complete a Fresh, Healthy Food Access Grant Application. To see examples of qualified community partners click here

Aug 15: Community partner Fresh, Healthy Food Access Grant Application due

This application will include questions regarding the community partner’s mission, programs, leadership, impact, community engagement, sustainability, and finances. Before you select a community partner, please see examples of qualified community partners by clicking here

Sept 30: Notification sent to community partner applicants

Community partners will be notified if they qualify for a grant. Team Member applicants will receive notification if their community partners have been approved.  

Eligibility Requirements

Please ensure you are able to answer “yes” to all of the following requirements to be eligible. If you do not meet all of the requirements but feel there are special circumstances that you would like us to consider, please email us at grants@wholecitiesfoundation.org.

  1. Are you a Whole Foods Market Team Member in good standing?
  2. Do you have support from your STL, and can your STL send an STL Support Form to grants@wholecitiesfoundation.org by Wednesday, June 1?
  3. Are you and other Team Members in your store willing to volunteer for your community partner in your personal time (outside of WFM working hours)?No compensation will be provided by WFM or WCF.
  4. Is the community partner you are recommending a 501c3, community-led non-profit organization focused on expanding fresh, healthy food in neighborhoods with few options?
    We generally do not support food banks and other community partners that focus on processed, packaged foods. For examples of qualified community partners, click here.
  5. If your application is selected, is your community partner able to complete an online Fresh, Healthy Food Access Grant Application by August 15?
    This simple application will include questions about the community partner’s mission, programs, leadership, impact, community engagement, sustainability, non-profit status and finances.
  6. Is the community partner you are recommending primarily focused on serving communities, families, and adults?
    The Community First Grant will not be the best fit for community partners that focus on school-based programs.