As part of a $10 million three-year commitment to support food access and nutrition initiatives, Newman’s Own Foundation is forming a Nutrition Cohort of six nonprofits and a research university. The goal of the Nutrition Cohort is to help to improve health among children and families in under-served communities through fresh food access and nutrition education. Among the six organizations selected is Wholesome Wave, located in Bridgeport, which has been awarded a three-year $900,000 grant.
Newman’s Own Foundation will work with the Nutrition Cohort to share practices, coordinate efforts, and brainstorm ideas for improving nutrition during an annual in-person convening and subsequent discussions, official said. The grant to Wholesome Wave will be used to expand its Double Value Coupon Program and Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program, as well as study the collective impact of these programs.
“Our support for these nonprofits represents an investment in the value of collaboration,” said Bob Forrester, President and CEO, Newman’s Own Foundation, based in Westport. “Working together, these organizations can combine their collective knowledge, experience, and networks. We look forward to seeing if we can move the needle on issues like food insecurity, childhood obesity, and the related costs to individuals and community health.”
In addition to Wholesome Wave, the cohort organizations are: Fair Food Network (Ann Arbor, MI), FoodCorps, Inc. (New York, NY), The Food Trust (Philadelphia, PA), National Farm to School Network (Chicago, IL), and Wellness in the Schools (New York, NY). The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston will provide research support by evaluating the Cohort’s impact.
Wholesome Wave strives to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system, according to the organization’s website. “By making fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available,” they “enable underserved community members to make healthier food choices.” Officials point out that “innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies.”
In addition to Bridgeport, Wholesome Wave operates in two dozen states and Washington, D.C. Nationwide, the organization works in collaboration with more than 70 community-based partners, reaching 40,000 underserved community members and their families, as well as thousands of farmers, according to data provided by the organization. Wholesome Wave focuses in four areas:
- Increase Affordability and Access to Healthy, Locally Grown Food
- Improve Health Outcomes
- Bolster Local and Regional Economies
- Generate Revenue for Small & Mid-Sized Farms
“We are incredibly grateful to Newman’s Own Foundation for this three year grant, and for the opportunity to work with a cohort of organizations whose missions align with ours. This funding will allow Wholesome Wave to continue its work to increase affordable access and improve health for all consumers, regardless of income,” says Wholesome Wave CEO, Michel Nischan, noting that qualitative and quantitative data collected through rigorous evaluation is used by Wholesome Wave to advance local, state and federal policy that increases affordable access to local and regional foods and improves health.
Newman’s Own Foundation will work with the Nutrition Cohort over a three-year period to coordinate efforts and brainstorm ideas for improving nutrition. More information about the Nutrition Cohort is available at www.newmansownfoundation.org.; about Wholesome Wave at www.wholesomewave.org