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Community seed grant in review 2022: World U.P. Foundation

Jan 11, 2023

seed-grant-up-foundation Photo courtesy of World U.P. Foundation

Access to fresh produce is limited in several Richmond neighborhoods, contributing to health and cancer disparities. The World U.P. Foundation launched its Mobile Produce Pantry to offer residents more options for fruits and vegetables in so-called food deserts across the city.

In 2022, VCU Massey Cancer Center awarded $5,000 to World U.P. as part of the Community Grant Initiative. World U.P. used the seed grant to create a direct produce delivery model.

“Through this model, we are able to make food pantries more accessible to families and those who lack the ability to physically visit a pantry for help,” explained Liz Dukette, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of World U.P. “They are able to order produce through an online system and have their order delivered to their home. This model increases access and anonymity for those in need.”

Between September and December, World U.P. has been able to serve more than 200 new families. As the direct delivery program continues, World U.P. has a goal of reaching 25 new, recurring clients each week.
“Enhancing access to resources is a crux to our mission of supporting Richmond’s communities,” said Dukette. “This grant allowed us to increase our outreach in these communities. Assuring families have nutrient-rich diets prevents the risk of cancer and other chronic health issues. Additionally, it alleviates the burden of having to balance the choice of healthy food options or paying bills.”

Launched in Dec. 2021, Massey’s Community Grant Initiative helps community partners expand programs focused on the promotion of health, health equity, person-centered care across the cancer continuum (from prevention through survivorship) and reducing suffering from cancer.
In addition to World U.P., the 2022 seed grant recipients include:

  • Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation (Richmond)
  • Vance Street Missionary Baptist Church (Danville)
  • Saving Pennies 4 A Cure / Trials of Color (Petersburg)
  • Northern Neck Middlesex Free Health Clinic (Kilmarnock)
  • Fifth Baptist Church (Richmond)
  • Ebenezer Baptist Church (Richmond)

“This has been a wonderful experience for a young organization to take next steps and grow,” Dukette shared. “The Massey seed grant has been so critical to helping increase our outreach in an innovative way. Massey has been so supportive during the grant process and cares about connecting missions to communities.”

Dukette encourages organizations meeting the criteria outlined in the Request for Applications (RFA) to apply for the next round of Massey funding.

The seed grant application period is open until Jan. 20, 2023. Massey will then score the 2023 applications on merit and notify the winners by Feb. 3.

Written by: Amy Lacey

This article is part of a series highlighting each of the seven 2022 seed grant recipients.

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