Many people have to deal with the task of choosing between purchasing the basic necessity or purchasing food. Food insecurity, a hidden struggle, exists unknowingly in many of our community. The two groups that are most affected by this are children and seniors and more than 780,000 people do not have consistent access to healthy food.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan plans to help decrease this rising issue by awarding $2 million in grants to 20 programs designed to improve healthy food access for children and seniors in southeast Michigan.

These grants are a part of a two-year regional initiative called Healthy Food Connect and is funded by the Community Foundation and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, who’s mission is to improve the health of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care with an emphasis on children and seniors.

“We are pleased to support a diverse group of nonprofit organizations in pooling their collective expertise and resources to make a difference in the lives of children and seniors,” said Mariam C. Noland, president of the Community Foundation. “This is one of the largest regional healthy food access initiatives ever undertaken in southeast Michigan, and we believe it is going to have an impact on our youngest and oldest residents for years to come.”

To ensure that children and seniors throughout the regions have access to healthy food, The Community Foundation’s Healthy Food Connect initiative will connect them to the people, places, programs and services who will help them. The Healthy Food Connect, through grantmaking and a series of coordinated education and training efforts, will do the following:

  • Support and grow existing exemplary activities
  • Extend the geographic reach and scope of successful programs
  • Foster additional collaboration and innovation in the regional food system network.

The Healthy Food Connect grants support projects that are collaborative, innovative and directly linked to food and health. Selected applicants had projects with a strong health component; designed to expand or replicate successful food access projects, or take innovative approaches to existing problems and were given first priority to the grants. They were accepted from partnerships of two or more organizations working together and reflect the collaborative efforts of 72 organizations across all seven counties of southeast Michigan.

The Community Foundation set up two different levels of funding, the Leadership grants and the Local grants. The Leadership grant consisted of up to $200,000, were made to support larger scale programs with the potential for systemic impact.  The Local impact grants, consist of up to $75,000, were made to support projects with a smaller reach and/or that test out new ideas

The recipients of the Healthy Food Connect Leadership grant are:

  • Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp
  • Elder Law of Michigan
  • Fair Food Network
  • Food Gatherers
  • Forgotten Harvest
  • Gleaners Community Food Bank Inc
  • Livingston County United Way

The recipients of the Healthy Food Connect Local Impact grant are:

  • Area Agency on Aging 1-B
  • Coalition on Temporary Shelter
  • Detroit Area Agency on Aging
  • Detroit Friendship House Inc.
  • Eastern Market Corporation
  • Greening of Detroit
  • Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County
  • Macomb County
  • Monroe County Opportunity Program
  • PACE Southeast Michigan
  • Patrick Senior Center, Inc.
  • Township of Canton
  • Wayne-Metropolitan Community Action Agency
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