This article was originally published by ReFED on June 8, 2020
New York, NY (June 8, 2020) – Today, ReFED – a national nonprofit organization working to advance solutions to reduce food waste – announced that its COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund has granted $1 million to a portfolio of for-profit and nonprofit organizations ready to immediately scale their food waste reduction and hunger relief efforts. Collectively, the Fund’s portfolio of grantees expects to recover more than 50 million pounds of food (equivalent to 41.5 million meals) and deliver it to some of the most hard-hit communities across the nation in the next 90 days.
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely disrupted the food supply chain, resulting in a surge of on-farm food loss and food distribution challenges – all while a growing number of people are facing food insecurity. In response, ReFED launched the COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund to deliver critical funding to organizations that could make an immediate impact. The Fund targets mid-sized organizations that are rescuing fresh, healthy food and have solutions that will ultimately make the food system more resilient. Nearly 400 organizations expressed interest in receiving funding – not only demonstrating that there are many solution providers who are ready to help overcome COVID-related challenges to the food system, but also highlighting the urgent need for more funding to scale their efforts.
“We’re inspired by all the organizations that are working tirelessly day and night to rescue food and deliver it to those in need, and we’re grateful to every philanthropic funder who has contributed to the Fund so far,” said Alexandria Coari, Capital and Innovation Director at ReFED. “However, more funding is critical. In fact, not only do the Fund’s current grantees report a total 90-day funding need of more than $9 million, but there are a lot of other food waste heroes doing great work that also need support. Our commitment to donors is that we pass on 100% of all contributions within 15-30 days.”
To date, grantees include the following organizations working on solutions to prevent on-farm food loss, eliminate logistical constraints across the supply chain, and enable last-mile delivery of fresh, healthy food directly to people in need: 412 Food Rescue, Aloha Harvest, Boston Area Gleaners, Brighter Bites, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, DC Central Kitchen, FarmDrop, FarmLink, Food Connect, Food Forward, Food Rescue Alliance, Food Rescue US, Forager, Goodr, Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic, Harvest Against Hunger, L&M Companies, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, Move for Hunger, Natural Upcycling, Oceanside Unified School District, Partnership for a Healthier America, Plentiful, SeaShare, Second Harvest Heartland, and White Pony Express. More than half of these organizations serve multiple states or have a national reach. Together, the grantees serve some of the most vulnerable communities – including the Navajo Nation, the Northeast, and the New York area, which recent reports show have so far been underfunded by the US Department of Agriculture’s new food aid program despite having the most COVID-19 cases of any other region – as well as children and the elderly in all 50 states.
“412 Food Rescue is incredibly grateful to receive a grant from The ReFED COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund. There is so much need from organizations on the front lines right now and, like many food recovery organizations, we are working overtime,” said Leah Lizarondo, CEO and Co-Founder of 412 Food Rescue. “This grant will give us much needed funds to accelerate technology development to help us and all the organizations that use our platform quickly scale to new locations and new services – such as home delivery – in the fight against food waste and hunger.”
To further support the grantees, along with non-funded applicants, ReFED has developed a COVID-19 Food Waste Fundable Initiatives Directory available on its COVID-19 food waste website. Interested funders are encouraged to review the directory for opportunities to support. ReFED is also sharing photos and videos of the work of grantees on its website.
The COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund was made possible by more than 60 donors, including the following major gift contributors: Ajana Foundation; Atticus Trust; Betsy & Jesse Fink; Caerus Foundation, Inc.; Crown Family Philanthropies; Fink Family Foundation; Jackie & Orion Hindawi; June & Paul Rossetti; The JPB Foundation; The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation; Peter Welles; Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh; and the Tiller Family Foundation. One hundred percent of all donations to date have been passed on to grantee organizations thanks to a generous gift from Betsy & Jesse Fink, that covers the related administration costs of the Fund. Collaborating partners include Food Tank, GreenBiz Group, IDEO, Village Capital, and World Wildlife Fund.
ReFED will continue raising additional donations to regrant to organizations in a position to make a major impact over the next few months. To learn more about making a contribution, visit https://covid.refed.com/covidsolutionsfund.