Autonomy has always served Whole Foods Market well when it comes to innovation – so it was no surprise in 2014 when the company created its third independent nonprofit organization.
When Whole Cities was founded it was an aspiration. It took a year to explore the idea and shape our charitable mission, scope and purpose. Thankfully our founding Executive Director had extraordinary skill in public health and community organizing. And our board had drive and hopefulness about the difference we could make in the world!
In 2018, when I moved from interim to Executive Director for Whole Cities, it enabled me to see ways to optimize operations – a fancy phrase for save money. I like to save on things with less value so we can spend more on our community work.
After five years, operational support for Whole Cities Foundation needed to grow. The synergies between Whole Cities and Whole Kids Foundation had become apparent…we had already started to share resources.
Each organization files for permission to raise money in all 50 U.S. states – and there was only ONE word different on those mountains of paperwork – KIDS & CITIES. As one organization, our cost is half. Same with external audits and other tax filings.
So, we made the decision to combine the organizations legally for cost savings. Whole Cities mission remains as aspirational and clear as ever. In fact, I will say that Whole Cities approach to philanthropy has benefitted Whole Kids in several important ways. And Whole Kids’ experience amplifying the stories of those we serve has been an asset to Whole Cities.
I want to assure Whole Foods Market team members and our Whole Cities community partners that Whole Cities grants and programs will continue in the same responsive way they always have – and grow as we continually listen to the solutions and need of the communities we serve.
If you’ve read this far, I know that you deeply care about the work of Whole Cities Foundation. THANK YOU. I do too! If you have any questions about our operating structure, please feel free to reach out to me.