This post outlines how I obtained grant funding to do what I love (teach free vegan cooking classes to low-income groups) and how you can too!
Network with Likeminded People
At a Forks Over Knives screening, I met an attendee who is a board member of Mission Hill Health Movement (MHHM), a non-profit organization that focuses on the health and quality of life for Boston residents. He was interested in my experience teaching vegan cooking classes.
Present your Idea
I presented a proposal for vegan cooking classes to MHHM board members and shared the following information:
- Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some cancers disproportionately effect underserved populations and they can be prevented with appropriate diet.
- My goal is to debunk common myths about vegan cuisine by teaching participants that it can be health promoting, nutritionally adequate, delicious, satisfying, inexpensive and easy to prepare.
- Vegan cooking classes could help to meet MHHM’s mission.
Ask for Introductions to Other Partners
MHHM was eager to form a partnership and willing to provide some funding. They introduced me to a variety of potential host organizations. Ultimately, Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH), a low-income housing development offered to host a series of five, free, two-hour cooking classes in their kitchen. RTH offered to provid some funding towards the cost of running the program, now named “Jazz Up Your Veggies” (JUYV).
Find a Partner
Rich Roll, plant-based ultra endurance athlete, says, “pursue what’s in your heart and the universe will conspire to support you.” That was certainly the case when it came to meeting my program partner Annie. Newly graduated from PCRM’s Food For Life program, she had reached out to my contact at MHHM with the hope of finding leads for teaching cooking classes. He introduced us and I was thrilled to have her join me. She’s become a great friend, teaching partner and is instrumental in the success of our program. I can’t imagine JUYV without her.
Design the Curriculum
Together Annie and I chose four recipes per class that were simple to prepare, delicious, require no fancy appliances or expensive ingredients. Our target was to share recipes that would allow participants to eat vegan on $5/day. Here’s our flyer:
Prepare Pre and Post Program Surveys
One of our main goals was to design and deliver a program that proved that attitudes and behaviors can be changed. The surveys were very helpful for tracking these changes. Survey results provide compelling data for measuring success, modifying the program and attracting future funders.
Reach out to Local Establishments for Donations…