AUSTIN, Texas (August 18, 2021) — Whole Kids Foundation, a nonprofit established by Whole Foods Market and dedicated to helping to improve children’s nutrition, is granting a record $3 million in garden grants to help schools and nonprofit organizations start or expand edible learning spaces as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.
The Foundation is awarding the funds as part of its annual garden grant program after receiving more than 1,400 applications – the most ever in one year – from schools and nonprofits that want to create hands-on learning spaces that connect kids with food, spark their curiosity and support classroom curriculums. A total of 1,000 schools and nonprofit organizations will receive grants of $3,000 each this fall—the most the nonprofit has ever disbursed in one year.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, this was an incredibly trying year for educators who were tasked with finding new ways to engage and inspire students while maintaining social distancing,” said Whole Kids Foundation Executive Director Nona Evans. “Many turned to outdoor learning, and we are over the moon to be able to respond to their needs as they enhance or create new, enriching environments for students.”
Outdoor and hands-on learning is engaging for children, and research — including a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin — shows that students who participate in gardening, nutrition and cooking classes eat more fruits and vegetables.
With these garden grants, the Foundation will also reach another milestone—since its founding 10 years ago, the nonprofit has served more than 10 million children by supporting more than 12,000 schools with grants. To date, the Foundation has invested $42 million to fund:
- 7,018 edible educational garden grants to schools in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
- 6,010 salad bars in schools across the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
- 617 bee grants to support educational beehives at schools
- Health and wellness education that has positively impacted 22,054 teachers and school food service workers
- Scratch cooking initiatives for more than 20 school districts, impacting 137,000 children
Whole Kids Foundation raises funds to support these projects through its annual Growing Healthy Kids Campaign, which kicks off today. Anyone can help the Foundation fund future grants by donating at registers of Whole Foods Market stores through Aug. 31 or at wholekidsfoundation.org. Because Whole Foods Market covers all of the Foundation’s operational costs, 100% of every dollar donated directly supports Whole Kids Foundation programs.
As part of this year’s Growing Healthy Kids Campaign, several of Whole Foods Market’s suppliers are adding their support to this effort and will contribute more than $1.2 million. Lead sponsors for the campaign include Horizon Organic, Rainier Fruit, Stonyfield Organic and Tom’s of Maine. Core sponsors include 88 Acres, Barbara’s Bakery, CLIF Kid, GoGo SqueeZ, Happy Family, Kettle Brand, KIND, MadeGood, Nature’s Path Envirokidz, Orgain, Organic Valley, Purely Elizabeth, RXBAR, Santa Cruz Organic, Spindrift and Stasher. Corporate sponsors include Honeywell and UNFI Corporation. One hundred percent of these contributions fuel Whole Kids Foundation’s programmatic work.
Grant Application Window Now Open
From Sept. 1 through Oct. 15, 2021, Whole Kids Foundation is accepting applications for its Bee Grant Program, created in partnership with The Bee Cause Project. The Foundation accepts applications for its Salad Bar Grant Program, created in partnership with Salad Bars to Schools, year-round at wholekidsfoundation.org. The next Garden Grant application window will open in spring of 2022.
For more information about Whole Kids Foundation and this year’s Growing Healthy Kids Campaign, visit wholekidsfoundation.org.
About Whole Kids Foundation
Whole Kids Foundation supports schools and inspires families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness. Founded by Whole Foods Market in 2011, the independent, nonprofit organization is based in Austin, Texas, and serves schools and organizations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. For more information on the Foundation’s school programs including school gardens, salad bars, beehives, and nutrition education for teachers, visit wholekidsfoundation.org. For ongoing news and updates, follow Whole Kids Foundation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.