Newman’s Own, Wholesome Wave Collaborate to Further Nutrition, Access to Healthy Food

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.Farm-Fresh-Vegetables

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.”

logoIn 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:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 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; about Wholesome Wave at

Nationwide Effort by Newman’s Own Foundation to Help Veterans; Local Initiative Lagging

When Westport-based Newman's Own Foundation launched a national fundraising competition aimed at supporting the work of veterans organizations across the country – coupled with plans to contribute an additional $180,000 to the most successful efforts - the inclusion of a Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN) job training initiative for veterans was encouraging.

With the deadline just hours away, however, the local CPBN effort is ranked 23rd among the 28 participating organizations, having raised a total of $691.

A select group of military service nonprofits – a total of 28 organizations across the nation - were invited to raise money and compete for additional funds.  The Honoring Those Who Serve Challenge is a fundraising initiative developed to help charities gain awareness, recognition, and most importantly, cash.  It is an element in the Newman’s Own Foundation’s commitment to military personnel, veterans, and their families, providing a public awareness platform and funding support to organizations that help those who serve.

As of November 10, a total of $388,922 has been raised by 28 participating nonprofit organizations.  The Challenge began on Monday, September 30, and closes on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, at noon.  Only charities pre-selected by Newman’s Own Foundation were eligible to compete and win – among them Connecticut Public Broadcasting’s Veterans Vocational Training Program.

The CPBN program is free to veterans to train for a career in media arts and video production at Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network’s Learning Lab in Hartford.  Veterans learn from award-winning professionals in television, radio and new media production.  Participants gain experience working on digital projects and productions, ranging from live broadcasts to studio operations to web services.  Completion of the program leads to industry-specific certifications in digital arts or video production and includes portfolio development and business connections.honoring those who serve

The charity that raises the most money during the Challenge wins a $75,000 grant. Second place will receive $50,000, and third place will receive $25,000.  Another $30,000 is being given throughout the campaign, through weekly bonus challenges.  As of November 10, the leading organizations were the Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services and Easter Seals ($122,194), Operation Finally Home ($53,331) and Hero Dogs Inc. ($41,531).  All the participating organizations in the Competition – operated through a specially designed Crowdrise website - will keep the money they raise, regardless of whether they receive the additional prize money contributed by Newman’s Own Foundation.

To carry on Paul Newman’s philanthropic legacy, Newman’s Own Foundation turns all net profits and royalties from the sale of Newman’s Own products into charitable donations. To date, Paul Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $380 million to thousands of charities around the world.

Among a range of programs supported by Newman’s Own Foundation – including the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, CT and an array of nutrition programs nationwide, the organization has been a consistent supporter of veterans initiatives and public broadcasting.  Earlier this year, the organization announced a series of grants totaling $2.4 million over two years to 13 public broadcasting stations and organizations. The grants represent an ongoing commitment to support open dialogue and promote civic engagement.ct-vets-control-room

Funds were used by some stations to generate increased donor giving through challenge grants. In other cases, funds will be directed to programming or special projects, such as National Public Radio’s Military Voices Initiative, where the experiences of military personnel, veterans, and their families are recorded and broadcast.  Among the affiliates included were Connecticut Public Broadcasting and WSHU Public Radio in Fairfield. 

This fall, Newman’s Own Foundation committed $7 million in grants over three years to support United States military men, women, and families through its “Honoring Those Who Serve” program. The grants will be awarded to more than 50 nonprofit organizations that help military personnel, veterans, and their families successfully manage deployments and the transition from active duty to civilian life.  The current Challenge that concludes on Veterans Day, along with $300,000 in grants for nonprofit organizations that assist female veterans with career development, are segments of the overall commitment.

“There is no greater sacrifice than serving and defending our country,” said Robert Forrester, President and CEO of Newman’s Own Foundation. “We have a responsibility to support our military men and women, since they protect the freedom and privileges we enjoy as Americans.”

The grants will help military serviNewman's Own Foundationce organizations across the country that deal with issues such as health, housing, education, career development, and family support. When veterans return home, they face vast and complex challenges. According to the Department of Defense, the military suicide rate hit a record high in 2012, increasing nearly 16 percent over the previous year. Over 60,000 veterans are homeless.  The unemployment rate for Gulf War-era veterans was 9.9 percent in 2012, compared to 8 percent for all Americans.

“Recalling Paul Newman’s service in the United States Naval Corps in World War II, we have been committed to supporting military nonprofits for over twenty years,” said Forrester. “Paul felt that we can all make a difference by helping others, and there is no better time to announce our military grant commitment.”   The actor and philanthropist who founded Newman’s Own passed away on September 26, 2008.

For more information on Newman’s Own Foundation, visit Any questions regarding the Veterans Vocational Training Program can be answered by contacting Donna Sodipo, Director of Education Services at

UPDATE:  At the end of the challenge, a total of just over $670,000 was raised during the Honoring Those Who Served Competition, including $741 for the Veterans Vocational Training Program at CPBN.