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NRPA Announces Grants from Walmart Foundation, USDA to Support Community Wellness Hubs

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Grant funds will allow local park and recreation agencies to increase food access for local communities.

Ashburn, VA., June 6, 2022 -- The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation, is proud to announce the receipt of two grants that will increase the ability of local park and recreation agencies to serve as Community Wellness Hubs.

With support from the Walmart Foundation, NRPA has received $2.5 million in grant funding to support fifteen local park and recreation agencies and community-based organizations so they may serve as trusted gathering spaces, providing access to healthy, affordable food, and serve as leaders in reducing food insecurity. Food insecurity affects more than 38 million Americans. Children, adults in rural communities and Black, Latino, Native American, Asian Pacific American and older adults experience food insecurity at disproportionate rates (United States Department of Agriculture, 2020). This support from the Walmart Foundation is an important step in the continued transformation of local park and recreation agencies into intentional, people-centered, and sustainable community wellness hubs to advance health equity in communities.

Additionally, NRPA has received $750,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers Market Promotion Program to provide outreach, training, technical assistance, and resources to local park and recreation agencies and community-based organizations to increase their ability to develop innovative strategies that expand farmers markets and other direct producer-to consumer opportunities. This grant is also focused on advancing equity- centered strategies in support of continued COVID-19 response and recovery, and to help park and recreation professionals as they expand their agencies’ roles as Community Wellness Hubs.

Together, these two grants demonstrate the power that public-private collaborations have in catalyzing innovative approaches and local, systems change solutions that tap into the ingenuity of the private sector and the vitality of the public sector to address real issues facing our communities.

“NRPA is grateful for the opportunity to work with the Walmart Foundation and the USDA to increase park and recreation resources to center health equity, improve food access, and advance community-driven and holistic health and well-being programs and services,” said Kellie May, NRPA vice president of programs and partnerships. “This funding will allow us to help park and recreation agencies grow beyond serving as partners in food access and to realize their full power as people-driven, community wellness hubs.”

“Increasing access to nutritious food means meeting people in places where they feel safe and comfortable,” said Eileen Hyde, senior director for Walmart.org. “Recreation and park departments around the country provide welcoming gathering spaces, reducing barriers for those seeking services, and this program has proven to connect underserved communities with much needed healthy meals.”

About the National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

About Philanthropy at Walmart

Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By focusing where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social and environmental issues and collaborate with others to spark long lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 24 countries, employs more than 2.2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, advance equity, address hunger, build inclusive economic opportunity for people in supply chains, protect and restore nature, reduce waste and emissions, and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit www.walmart.org or connect on Twitter @Walmartorg.

About the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program

The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) funds projects that develop, coordinate and expand direct producer-to-consumer markets to help increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products by developing, coordinating, expanding, and providing outreach, training, and technical assistance to domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, online sales or other direct producer-to-consumer (including direct producer-to-retail, direct producer-to-restaurant and direct producer-to-institutional marketing) market opportunities.

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