FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, Founder & Executive Director
The Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) is excited to announce $100,000 in funding from the Cigna Foundation to support our next chapter of expanded impact through the launch of a three-acre urban farm at our new community wellness and sustainability hub. As part of Cigna Foundation’s Healthier Kids For Our Future® initiative, this grant will enhance existing nutrition, wellness, and environmental education programs through funding outdoor classrooms, expanding teaching kitchens, amplifying our urban agriculture capacity, and increasing our community’s access to fresh and healthy food.
AGC’s groundbreaking environmental education, sustainable food systems and health strategy has been designed to foster holistic wellness, eco-literacy, and healthier children and families. Since 2008, AGC has been responding to our community’s health disparities by delivering high-quality K-8th grade whole-child education and wellness programming to 96% minority children and families in a 46% medically underserved and food-insecure part of Southwest Chicago. Reimagining the role of school by serving as a health hub, AGC extends opportunities for community learning through cooking classes, gardening, health fairs and fresh food distribution.
“We’re excited to reimagine the role of schools in communities through developing a replicable model for creating healthy neighborhood hubs,” says Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, Founder and Executive Director of the Academy for Global Citizenship. “This will not only provide the building blocks of positive nutrition to our youngest learners but will cultivate a healthier community where all individuals have access to the wellness resources needed to thrive.”
As part of AGC’s overall growth strategy, the school will expand their current on-site gardening space over the next two years to a three-acre urban farm that will serve as a center for food production and a learning laboratory from which others can learn. Organic food grown on the farm will be utilized for 2,100 daily scratch-made school meals, and any excess food will be sold to the community at an on-site social enterprise Fresh Farm Café.
“Providing kids with healthy meals ensures they don’t go to bed hungry today, while nutritional education supports their wellbeing and growth in the future,” said Brian Marsella, Midwest market president for Cigna. “We are proud to support the important work that the Academy for Global Citizenship is doing to address food insecurity and other health disparities that affect too many children in our community.”
The Academy for Global Citizenship is a public Kindergarten through 8th grade school located in Southwest Chicago’s neighborhood of Garfield Ridge. They are working hand-in-hand with community partners to develop a hub for community wellness, learning and sustainability called Catalyst Southwest that will create a new home for the Academy for Global Citizenship, a three-acre urban farm, an early childhood center, a health care clinic, fresh foods café and six teaching kitchens. This project will be located on a six-acre plot of land at the center of a Chicago Housing Authority community and is slated to break ground in February 2022.