Guidelines and Eligibility

The Community First Grant Program is designed to support Whole Foods Market Team Members in the United States and Canada who want to engage with community partners broadening access to fresh, healthy foods in their cities.  Whole Cities will provide $5,000 grants to qualified community partners.

Download this guidelines and eligibility page. 

Download a one-pager about the program.

Watch a short video about how Whole Cities builds Community First partnerships.

How it Works

The program has a simple two-step application process:

  1. A Team Member in the U.S. or Canada completes a short application in support of a community partner focused on fresh food access or healthy cooking classes in their area.

  2. If the Team Member’s application is selected, then the community partner is asked to complete a Community First Grant Application. 


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. Help grow the local food system in more communities across the U.S. and Canada
3. Promote WFM’s core values and “Community First” principles 

How to Apply

  1. Talk with the community partner you would like to recommend, let them know about the program, and ask if they are interested.
  2. Make sure that you can answer “yes” to all of the eligibility requirements before applying.
  3. Start the application. 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.
  4. Ask your STL (Store TMs), FTL (Facility TMs) or TL (Regional and Global offices) to complete the Leadership Support Form send it to by Saturday, June 15th. 
  5. Complete your application by 11:59pm CST on Saturday, June 15th.

Process & Timeline

May 1: Community First Grant Program application opens for Team Members

June 15: Community First Grant Program application and STL/FTL/TL Support Form due

August:  Notification sent to Team Member applicants. Team Members will be notified if their application has been selected. If selected, your community partner will be asked to complete a grant application.

September: Community First Grant Program application due from Community Partners. This application will include questions regarding the community partner’s mission, programs, leadership, impact, community engagement, sustainability, and finances.

November:  Notification sent to Community Partner applicants. Community partners will be notified of their application status. 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:

  1. Are you a Whole Foods Market Team Member in good standing?
  2. Do you have support from your STL/FTL/TL, and can they send a Leadership Support Form to by Saturday, June 15th?
  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 nonprofit organization focused on expanding long-term fresh, healthy food access or offering healthy cooking classes? We generally do not support food banks and other projects with a food redistribution model. Click here to see examples of qualified community partners.
  5. If your application is selected, is your community partner willing to complete an online Community First Grant Program Application?
  6. This application will include questions about the community partner’s mission, programs, leadership, impact, community engagement, sustainability, non-profit status and finances.
  7. Are you willing to send us a short mid-year and end of the year update? We will ask for a brief summary of how things are going and photos of your partnership in action.

  8. Is the community partner you are recommending primarily focused on serving adults? The Community First Grant will not be the best fit for community partners that focus primarily on children or schools.