The Austin Fresh Funders Collaborative has expanded this year. It includes the original three foundations: The Christopher Family Foundation, The Builder’s Initiative, and the Lumpkin Family Foundation, plus the Walter S Mander Foundation and the Food: Land: Opportunity Fund, a program of the Kinship Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust. These five foundations reviewed applications again this year focused on increasing the availability of healthy food in Austin, and have just made the 2021 round of grant awards.
Projects being funded this year are:
- Bethel New Life: for phase 1 of their Mildred Wiley Wellness Hub at their Beth Ann Campus. The wellness hub will include gardens, a sunroom for senior residents to enjoy and for the processing of vegetables, and nutrition education in partnership with the Illinois Extension Service.
- Beyond Hunger: to train nutrition ambassadors who can provide cooking instruction and nutrition information focused on how to prepare healthy meals with the food available from emergency supply, in a partnership with New Moms.
- BUILD, Inc.: for the redevelopment of the Iris garden and associated programming, at Michele Clark High School (temporary location) and ultimately as it returns to the location of their completed new facility.
- Faith in Place: for additional costs associated with rezoning and completing the build-out of a certified kitchen at Greater St. John Church, which will be open to the community for development of commercial food products, cooking classes, and sanitation certification for those seeking employment in the food industry.
- NeighborSpace: for coordination of activities at all of the Austin-based community gardens and the development of one additional Peace Garden.
- Westside Health Authority: for the partnership with Forty Acres Fresh Market toward construction of a brick-and-mortar grocery store, specifically for marketing outreach and purchase of equipment once construction on the store is complete.