Ending Hunger Together

by Mark Roberts
Community Foundation of Central Illinois

By coordinating efforts and attacking systemic issues, CFCI hopes to break the cycle of hunger in central Illinois.

Above: Bradley University students Kollynn Rivera, Kamila Achi, Alejandro Mendoza and Rebeca Gomez with CFCI CEO Mark Roberts. The local chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals For America donated more than $100 to the Ending Hunger Together Fund.

On November 1, 2018, I had the pleasure of hosting a press conference to officially announce the Ending Hunger Together grants program—a new funding initiative from the Community Foundation of Central Illinois (CFCI) focused on combating food insecurity throughout the region.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as “a measure of a lack of regular access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.” Approximately 45,000 adults and children in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties are considered food-insecure. 

Despite the great work already taking place in our community, we still have a significant problem. That’s where the new program can make a difference. By coordinating community efforts and attacking the systemic issues that lead to food insecurity, CFCI hopes to break the cycle of hunger in central Illinois. 

The first year of Ending Hunger Together will include a maximum of $40,000 in grant funding. Grant proposals must reflect multi-organizational efforts and address at least two of CFCI’s three key areas of interest related to food insecurity: 

  • Increasing healthy food access—projects might include grocery store development or creating food co-ops in food deserts.
  • Advancing community education—projects might include education on preparing healthy or locally grown foods.
  • Creating economic/community development opportunities—projects might include providing low-income residents with job-training opportunities in agriculture and food industry occupations.

This framework is designed to encourage collaboration throughout the regional not-for-profit sector and create evidence-based plans for sustainability. In fact, no grants will be made to organizations working in isolation. Rather, we are seeking innovative collaboration among two or more organizations. Numerous 501(c)3 organizations, as well as churches, schools and units of local government, have already worked together to submit proposals. A committee of CFCI stakeholders will review submissions and make final grant decisions by March 7, 2019. 

This innovative approach to addressing hunger is the culmination of many months of work by our board, staff members and community partners. I cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication. 

CFCI’s Ending Hunger Together Fund accepts tax-deductible contributions of any amount. All donations will be used to make grants to address systemic issues in our community that lead to food insecurity. Your generosity will fund future grants and fuel our efforts to break the cycle of hunger right here at home. 

Please consider coming alongside us and supporting the Ending Hunger Together program. Together, we can and will make a difference in central Illinois. iBi

Mark Roberts is CEO of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois. To get involved with the Ending Hunger Together program, call (309) 674-8730 or visit communityfoundationci.org.