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Builders Initiative Helps to Launch Healthy Food System Fund for Chicago’s North Lawndale Neighborhood


Builders Initiative (BI) is proud to partner with The Lumpkin Family Foundation and the Walter Mander Foundation to launch North Lawndale Fresh, a funding collaborative that focuses on expanding access to healthy and affordable food in the North Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. As the philanthropic team of Builders Vision, BI is scaling its investments in community-based organizations working to improve food systems on a holistic level – nutritionally, educationally, and economically.

“We are excited to collaborate with community partners and North Lawndale residents to find ways to ensure access to nutritious food, economic opportunity, and overall wellbeing,” said BI Program Officer Haven Leeming, who helps lead the North Lawndale Fresh collaborative. “By expanding healthy retail options, supporting local food production, and strengthening food assistance programs and education, we hope this program will benefit this neighborhood and support a long-term transformation toward a healthy and equitable food system for all communities.”

The collaborative is soliciting ideas for projects that include but are not limited to:

  • Community food gardens which increase access to healthy, affordable food
  • Neighborhood or school habitat projects that support food production (e.g. pollinator gardens) or which give residents greater access to nature, even if they aren’t directly related to food production (e.g. tree planting)
  • Community kitchens and other processing enterprises that add value to food and empower entrepreneurs to build businesses and create jobs;
  • Food cooperatives;
  • Nutrition education or cooking classes focused on the preparation of fresh and healthy meals, or community cooking efforts, in which the effort of creating prepared meals is shared, to make it easier for families to eat well
  • Food as medicine approaches to health which focus on diet and nutrition
  • Commercial ventures designed to increase access to healthy or local food while building the economy of the North Lawndale community (provided a non-profit organization is the applicant).

To learn more, see our Call for Information (CFI) for grant seekers.