Read through our FAQ to find answers to some of our most common questions. If you have additional questions, contact

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What is the Community First Grant Program?

The Community First Grant Program is an initiative designed to support nonprofit organizations increasing access to fresh, healthy food and nutrition education in neighborhoods with few options who are engaged with Whole Foods Market (WFM) Team Members (TM) in the U.S. and Canada.


What is a “community partner”?

A community partner is a nonprofit organization that is led by community members in your city. A community partner understands the assets, needs, and goals of local residents and uses this knowledge to direct and shape its work.


How does the Community First Grant work?

The program has a simple nomination process:

  1. Team Members interested in nominating a partner complete a quick 10min training to make sure their partner is eligible for the Community First Grant.
  2. The Team Member asks their STL (or TL/FTL if in an office or facility) to submit a support form by May 28, 202 (found on our website).
  3. A Team Member in the U.S. or Canada completes a nomination in support of a nonprofit community partner focused on fresh, healthy food access or healthy cooking classes in their city from April 26 – May 28.
  4. If the Team Member’s nomination is selected, then the community partner is asked to complete a Community First Grant Application.


Who can submit a nomination?

Team Members and Community Partners must meet the eligibility criteria below to be considered:

      Team Members:

  • Must be a current Whole Foods Market Team Member (Full-Time or Part-Time) in good standing
  • Must ask their STL (store TMs), FTL (facility TMs) or TL (regional and global office TMs) to submit a support form by May 28
  • Must volunteer with their nonprofit community partner during personal time. No compensation will be provided from Whole Foods Market or Whole Cities Foundation.
  • Must be willing to submit a short mid-year and end of the year update including a brief summary of how things are going and photos of your partnership in action.

     Community Partners:

  • Must be a 501(c)3 or must have a fiscal agent that is a 501c3.
  • Must focus on expanding fresh, healthy food access or provide healthy cooking classes
  • Must complete a Community First Grant application if the TM nomination is accepted


What is the 2021 CFG timeline?

April 26: Team Member nomination opens

May 28: Team Member nomination closes

July: Eligible Community Partners invited to apply

August: Community Partners’ applications due

Mid-October: CFG Partners Announced


Can a Team Member submit a nomination if the Team Member has already participated in the Community First Grant Program?

Yes! We welcome nominations from Team Members who are new to the program as well as those would like to participate again.


Can a Team Member nominate more than one organization?

Yes! Team Members can nominate up to 4 organizations based on their bandwidth if they can support more than one partner throughout the grant year.


Can a Team Member nominate a Community Partner who has already received a grant from Whole Cities?

Yes! Eligible organizations have been nominated and received grants from Whole Cities for multiple years.


What if a Team Member is trying to find a local nonprofit partner to nominate?

If you don’t have a partner in mind yet, no worries. We have some tips:

  1. First, tap into your network. Ask fellow TMs if your store or office has supported local organizations in your area through the CFG or other events or sponsorships.
  2. A Google search can also be fruitful. Find organizations in your area by searching your city name plus urban agriculture, community gardens, mobile markets, healthy cooking classes, and more.
  3. Focus on organizations that align with Whole Cities’ mission of long-term healthy food access (so pantries and food banks would usually not qualify) and look for organizations that are close enough that you could regularly visit.


How many partners will receive grants in 2021?

We anticipate funding 30-40 organizations with grants of about $8,000 each this year.


What is expected of Team Members who participate in the Community First Grant?

Every partnership is unique and is determined by the Team Members and Community Partner involved. For example, some Team Members volunteer regularly on their Community Partner’s urban farm while others give periodic technical assistance on a Community Partner’s mobile market. The options are endless.

Whole Cities loves hearing about these partnerships and understanding how we can continue to support the expansion of fresh, healthy food access. We will ask Team Members involved in the program to submit periodic updates that include photos and a progress update on the partnership.

During the grant year, the Whole Cities team will create monthly touch points for CFG TMs that could be an email, webinar or call (which will all be recorded if a TM cannot attend live) to make sure that CFG TMs are involved, supported, and engaged.


Can individual Team Members receive funding from Whole Cities Foundation?

No. We do not award grants to individuals. Learn more about what we fund and don’t fund here.


Does Whole Cities fund food redistribution programs?

Both food access and food redistribution are important. Whole Cities’ focus is on food access. Food donations feed more people experiencing hunger today. We support organizations expanding healthy food access for the long-term (Think — a donated bag of food vs. a garden that produces for years).


Does Whole Cities fund programs serving kids?

Whole Cities focuses on serving adults and/or older youth (ages 16-22). Our sister foundation, Whole Kids, offers a variety of grants that focus on children and school- based programs.


What if I have feedback about the CFG Program?

We LOVE to hear from Team Members! Please send any feedback, questions or thoughts to


Return to the 2021 Community First Grant page here.

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