PRESS RELEASE: Whole Cities Foundation and Michele's Granola Kick Off Small Business Challenge to Advance Community Health

Michele's Granola + Whole Cities Foundation

Whole Cities Foundation Grantees

AUSTIN, Texas, September 30, 2021 - Whole Cities Foundation, a nonprofit broadening community access to fresh food and nutrition education, has partnered with Michele’s Granola and launched Michele’s Granola Small Business Challenge to help build thriving local food systems.

Each $8,000 Michele’s Granola Small Business Challenge pledge will fund a Whole Cities Foundation Community First Grant. The grant program supports community-led nonprofits focused on long-term fresh, healthy food access and nutrition education to create more equitable and sustainable local food systems. Michele’s Granola kicked off its Small Business Challenge by sponsoring an $8,000 grant and inviting 10 additional like-minded businesses to participate in the challenge by March 31, 2022.

Recognized for its small batch granola made from scratch, Michele’s Granola donates one percent of all sales to support programming addressing racial and cultural inequities in the food system through its Give One for Good Food® program. Since 2012, Michele’s Granola has donated more than $250,000 to help nourish and unite people with nutritious, fresh, locally grown food.

“At Michele's Granola, we believe that everyone deserves good food and that business can be a powerful source for positive social change,” said Michele Tsucalas, Founder and Owner. “We put our belief into action by sponsoring a Whole Cities Foundation Community First Grant. Now, we are challenging fellow small businesses in our industry to match our efforts and participate in creating resilient local food economies.”

Whole Foods Market Team Members nominate locally led organizations for an $8,000 Community First Grant and commit to volunteering with the grantee during the grant year. Since launching the grant program in 2016, Whole Cities Foundation has awarded 224 grants in over 100 cities across the U.S. (and one in Canada) investing a total of $1,262,000. Projects from past grant recipients have included community gardens, urban farms, mobile markets, agricultural skills development programs, healthy cooking classes and other initiatives advancing healthy food access.

“Growing community health needs to be a collaborative effort, so relationships have always been at the heart of the Community First Grant program,” said Dianna Purcell, Senior Grant Programs Manager at Whole Cities Foundation. “The Michele’s Granola Small Business Challenge unites purpose-driven organizations that share a goal of improving long-term access to fresh, healthy food. Together, we can strengthen locally led efforts and solutions that advance community health.”

Michele’s Granola also has made a 3-year $30,000 commitment to Whole Cities Foundation’s Local Leaders Pilot Grant, which aims to amplify the efforts of community thought leaders and organizers dedicated to expanding access to healthy food and nutrition education. This grant is offered by invitation only to a select number of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. with a desire to share their innovations, learnings and best practices with a wider audience.

In addition to providing support for the Community First Grant and Local Leaders Pilot Grant programs, from October 6 – November 2, 2021, $0.20 from each sale of Michele’s Granola products in all U.S Whole Foods Market stores will be donated to Whole Cities Foundation, up to $12,000. This contribution will help the Foundation continue to champion locally led projects that transform community health.

For more information on the Michele’s Granola Small Business Challenge including a FAQ and sponsorship benefits, visit



Whole Cities Foundation works alongside community-based organizations to improve neighborhood health through collaborative partnerships, nutrition education, and broader access to fresh, healthy food. Founded by Whole Foods Market in 2014, the independent, nonprofit organization is based in Austin, Texas and has partnered with more than 195 community organizations in more than 100 cities across the U.S. to build thriving local food systems and improve health. Through vibrant grant programs, Whole Cities Foundation supports community gardens, urban farms, pop-up produce stands, agriculture skills development, farmers’ markets, mobile markets, healthy cooking classes and other community-directed initiatives. The Foundation’s signature medical nutrition program Let’s Talk Food is offered in Detroit, Newark, NJ and Chicago’s Greater Englewood neighborhood. For more information on the Foundation and its programs, visit For ongoing news and updates, follow Whole Cities Foundation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


Since 2006, Michele’s Granola has been dedicated to making small batch granola from scratch, prepared fresh daily by hand with simple natural, organic and GMO-free ingredients. The company now produces more than 35,000 pounds of granola weekly, which is distributed to 1,000+ natural food retailers, grocers and food service facilities, and is also available online and on In addition to their environmentally friendly practices, including composting, recycling and powering its bakery with wind, Michele’s is committed to improving nutrition and supporting local food entrepreneurship by donating 1% of all sales to non-profits with a food-based mission. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Nona Evans, Executive Director
Whole Cities Foundation 

Lauren Shafer, Marketing Manager 
Michele’s Granola
410.350.0021 x 1002  

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