The Cox Foundation makes grants to support community-based efforts to address basic human needs, with a focus on strategies that provide people the tools and skills they need to become self-sufficient. Our work also includes support for a new organization to expand access to healthy, locally grown food for vulnerable populations through community gardening, urban farming and other efforts.
Empowering Individuals & Families
A Place At the Table for Local Food Organizations
Food Well Alliance
Food does more than simply keep us alive. When we connect with local food and the people who grow it, food can teach us about biology, chemistry and nutrition; provide income and build strong local economies; connect members of a community; promote health; protect natural resources; and create a more resilient food supply for everyone.
The Atlanta local food community is robust but fragmented, with many farmers’ markets, community gardens, farm-to-school initiatives and other groups working in silos toward common goals. But still missing was a clearinghouse to connect these disparate organizations’ efforts and provide them with resources.
Building on the company’s longtime partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB), the Cox Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to ACFB to establish and incubate the Food Well Alliance, a new organization designed to expand access to healthy, locally grown food and connect organizational stakeholders. To support the organization’s continued development, the Foundation made a second, $3.75 million grant to the Food Well Alliance in 2016.
Two years later, the Food Well Alliance is executing on its mission, serving as an important convener, grant maker and promoter for the growing number of organizations in Atlanta that build healthier communities through local food. The Food Well Alliance has already channeled $1 million to support more than 200 organizations through local food grants, collaborative design initiatives and community capital grants. The organization will continue to make similar investments to strengthen and expand the local food movement.
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Landmark accomplishments of the Food Well Alliance include:
- The Healthy Soil, Healthy Community initiative, a series of workshops and demonstrations to promote community gardening, which included distribution of 150 truckloads of organic compost to urban gardens and participation of 1,400 gardeners
- Leaders Growing Community Gardens, an opportunity for community gardeners to participate in workshops and one-on-one coaching to better understand how to manage their properties, promote programs and engage with the community
- We Are Farmers, a community-based conversation on ways to scale up Atlanta’s food system, hosted in partnership with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, the City of Atlanta, Georgia Organics and the Georgia Farmers Market Association
Meeting People Where They Are
impacts more than
and adults each year.
Families First, Georgia’s largest nonprofit family service agency, has a goal to reach 200,000 children and youth by 2020. To accomplish it, the organization realized that it needed to be located where need for its services is greatest. The Cox Foundation helped them toward this objective in 2015 with a $1.5 million grant to the agency’s Family Matters capital campaign. The campaign funded the purchase and renovation of a new resource center and headquarters in a former school on Atlanta’s Westside. It is conveniently located near a transit station, making it accessible for new and existing clients.
Families First impacts more than 37,000 children and adults each year. It provides services such as family and individual counseling; parenting classes; necessities like food, transportation and clothing; supportive housing for homeless families and young mothers; and adoption services. This assistance can be life-changing for families in need, allowing parents to earn academic or vocational degrees and become financially stable – thereby securing better futures for their children.
A Delicious Opportunity
Reconcile New Orleans
Hospitality is one of the top industries in vibrant New Orleans. So, what better way to help area youth rise out of poverty and position themselves for promising careers than through a restaurant-service training program?
That’s precisely the idea behind Reconcile New Orleans, a nonprofit committed to addressing the cycle of generational poverty. Reconcile New Orleans engages with the community through Café Reconcile, a restaurant and catering service that puts students to work as stewards, wait staff and chefs. Since the restaurant opened in 2000, more than 1,000 people have graduated from the program and moved into permanent jobs in New Orleans’ food service industry.
Reconcile has been so successful that, in 2015, the organization sought funds to renovate its 17,000-square-foot facility. Assistance came from the Cox Foundation in the form of a $175,000 grant that helped Reconcile New Orleans complete construction. The Foundation also facilitated the donation of surplus kitchen equipment and furniture from our Atlanta corporate headquarters.
Reconcile New Orleans anticipates that the investment from Cox will allow them to provide direct workforce development and training to at least 2,000 youth over the next five years. That means not just more great soul food (Café Reconcile’s specialty) – but more young people on paths to success.
Pathways to Independence
Many individuals with developmental disabilities have trouble finding long-term employment. Opportunity Village, a community rehabilitation program in Las Vegas is changing that – making meaningful jobs, community connections and independence possible for thousands. The program’s services are in such demand that, in 2016, Opportunity Village was operating at full capacity with more than 650 people on its waiting list. It launched an $18 million capital campaign to expand its West Oakley campus, which houses its employment resource center and life skills training program.
The Cox Foundation provided a $300,000 grant, which will help Opportunity Village continue to offer vocational training, day services, arts and social recreation and advocacy for people with disabilities.
The grant builds upon Cox’s existing relationship with the organization. Opportunity Village contracts with businesses to offer packaging, assembly, mailing and other services performed by its clients. Cox Communications in Las Vegas employs 22 individuals trained by Opportunity Village to assist with cleaning and repackaging of cable remotes for redistribution. With its expanded capacity, Opportunity Village can now put even more people to work.