Insight Grants

Grant Opportunity: Aetna GoLocal Cultivating Healthy Communities Grant Program Presents: Local Roots: Supporting Community Gardens, Urban Farms, and Farmers Markets

By Jen Adams

Who is offering this grant? The Aetna Foundation–their mission is to promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality healthcare for everyone, while supporting the communities they serve.

What is the purpose? Through this RFP, the foundation will fund the creation and expansion of community gardens, urban farms, and farmers markets in underserved neighborhoods so that fresh fruits and vegetables are locally available, accessible, and affordable.

What types of activities might be supported? Programs that aim to make fresh fruits and vegetables locally available, accessible, and affordable will be considered. Beyond the garden, farm or farmers market itself, projects must also include one or more of the following:

  • Nutrition education or cooking classes focused on the health benefits of fresh produce
  • Growth or distribution of produce that reflects the food traditions of the target area
  • Opportunities to learn job skills or entrepreneurship within the context of gardens, farms or farmers markets
  • Opportunities for community service or volunteer work with the project

Who can apply? To apply, you must be a nonprofit organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or a state or local government agency. State government agencies, such as public universities, are eligible. Local government agencies eligible to apply include towns/cities or public schools. However, federal government agencies, such as national parks, are not eligible to apply.

How much is available? In 2015, the GoLocal Cultivating Healthy Communities Grants Program is expected to award a total of $1 million through this RFP.

When is the application due? Proposals will be accepted until May 6, 2015 (5 p.m. ET).

How much can I request? Grant awards will be a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $50,000 over two years. Projects will receive a maximum of $25,000 per year.

Do I have to offer a match of any kind? No.

How long is the project period? Projects must be 12 – 24 months long and start after October 15, 2015.

When will the awards be made? By September 15, 2015.

Is there anything else I should know? Programs for matching funds for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits doubling programs and programs that focus only on food distribution will not be funded. We will consider programs that focus on food distribution only as part of a larger program.

In previous years, organizations had to serve specific geographic areas to be eligible to apply. That is NO LONGER the case. In 2015, the program was opened to organizations in all 50 states.

You can submit your application and supporting documents through the Aetna Foundation’s online grant application portal.

How can I find out more? Visit the Aetna Foundation’s website at: The Local Roots RFP and program details are available here: You can ask questions about the RFP by e-mail at, with the subject line “Aetna Foundation Local Roots grant program inquiry.”

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