Recognizing the needs of the community is an integral component of the 21st Century Fund. Making sure that that those needs are met is another. The Fund – “a giving circle open to anyone who wants to give back in Western New York” – designates significant awards to worthy organizations that submit applications for consideration. This year, FeedMore WNY is the recipient of $100,000, which will allow the non-profit to continue on with its efforts to feed those struggling during the pandemic.
In 2020, FeedMore WNY served more than 16 million meals to WNYers who were homebound due to quarantine. This was accomplished via the group’s 300 pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, etc., throughout Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua counties.
FeedMore WNY will be using the significant funds to expand its GrowMore for Good project, by allowing the organization to double its capacity, which in turn will ensure that fresh produce will be available to over 129,000 individuals. The expansion of a FeedMore-operated Freight Farms Greenery™ (the organization’s second hydroponic container farm) means that FeedMore will be able to produce 200 lbs. of produce each week. The group’s initial hydroponic “container farm” will supplement the effort. This food will be harvested and distributed within 24 to 48 hours, according to FeedMore.
This is an incredible effort that will allow more people to access healthy foods, instead of relying upon less wholesome canned foods.
In order to receive the crucial funding, FeedMore WNY made it to the final four, out of a streamlined pool of 30 applicants, before coming away with top honors. Homespace, Jericho Road, and OLV Charities were the other three finalists – all four projects can be found here.
Members* from across the country ended up casting their votes for FeedMore WNY, knowing how imperative it is to get healthy foods into the hands and onto the tables of disadvantaged households. The existence of ‘food deserts’ and the fight for ‘food justice’ go hand-in-hand. Compounded by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to offer people food security, for healthier futures.
“FeedMore and all the clients we serve across Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties are overwhelmingly grateful for the generous support from the 21st Century Fund which will allow us to purchase our second container farm. The indoor, vertical growing, hydroponic farm will allow us to double our output of crops to enable us to put fresh, nutritious and fragile produce into our clients’ hands within 48 hours of harvest,” said Tara A. Ellis, FeedMore president and CEO.
“Our giving circle is a great way to introduce people to philanthropy,” said Ted Borowiak, 21st Century Fund Co-Chair. “We are always accepting members and encourage anyone including families, school groups or organizations to learn more about our membership options. Once you are a member, you are a member for life, allowing you to stay informed on new projects underway and make an impact in our community over and over again.”
The next 21st Century Fund grant process will open in the fall of 2021. For more information about the 21st Century Fund and membership details, visit www.21stcenturyfund.org.
*Members pay a one-time fee to join the 21st Century Fund and come together every other year to vote on awarding a $100,000 grant to one deserving organization for a specific project that will benefit the community. The 2018 winner chosen by members was the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club’s 17th Street Clubhouse Revitalization Project.