The Ray C. Anderson Foundation awarded $50,000 to the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture (TLW) on Friday, December 21 at Truly Living Well’s Wheat Street Garden in the Old Fourth Ward, during their Friday Community Market. TLW is a non-profit farming system that brings fresh, organically grown food and economic development to Atlanta’s urban areas. Harvesting more than 25,000 pounds of food annually and employing 35 full time and seasonal workers, TLW is the perfect example of the principles held by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.
The Ray C. Anderson Foundation launched in July 2012, as a legacy to the late Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), beloved founder and chairman of Interface, Inc., an Atlanta based, global leader in modular carpet manufacture and sustainable commerce. Ray Anderson was a globally recognized ‘pioneer for the environment.’
This grant is the result of a conversation two of the Foundation Trustees, Harriet Langford and Mary Anne Lanier, had with Ray’s five grandchildren regarding where the ‘next generation’ sees the Foundation going in years to come.
In late October, Mrs. Lanier, Mrs. Langford and Mrs. Pat Anderson, Ray’s wife, allocated $50,000 to Ray’s grandchildren, with a challenge to take the money and find one or more nonprofit initiatives that they could collectively agree on as worthy recipients that would embody the spirit of Ray Anderson and the vision that he had for impacting the future.
“We met our children for lunch,” said Mary Anne Lanier, “and as soon as we issued the challenge, they were off and running, talking among themselves, self-organizing into leadership positions and committees.”
“They all exemplified that same passion for change that burned so brightly in our father,” said Harriet Langford. “We’re incredibly proud of them all.”
In late November, the grandchildren who call themselves the Next Generation (NextGen) met with the Foundation Trustees again, and announced their decision to allocate all of their funds to Truly Living Well.
Jay Lanier, the oldest son of Mary Anne Lanier, and Ray’s oldest grandchild made the announcement. “We all felt very committed to keeping our decision within the spiritual inspiration of our grandfather,” he said, “and we brainstormed the key aspects that seemed to be common themes in his quest for sustainability; planet, people and business. We felt like if we could find all three in one organization it would be ideal, but we figured we would find two key themes at best.”
Through the process of researching potential recipient organizations, Lanier said other key themes emerged. Those included educating youth, making a local impact, and funding food and agriculture programs that meet basic human needs. “Truly Living Well was a clear winner,” Lanier said, “as they are addressing all of these things, and so much more.”
Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture is charting a new course in health, education and economic development in Atlanta. The Truly Living Well Center builds communities by providing organically grown local produce, agricultural education, and employment. TLW’s training programs and summer camps educate new generations of consumers, urban farmers, and entrepreneurs who value and promote food security and self-sufficiency for all.
“We are so honored to receive this grant. Financial support from community leaders like the Ray C. Anderson Foundation will help Truly Living Well grant scholarships to children for our summer camps, provide food assistance to senior citizens and help expand the growth of healthy produce to feed our community,” says K. Rashid Nuri, Founder of TLW.
The Foundation’s NextGen chose Truly Living Well because they have a successfully proven model for educating youth, especially low income youth in urban areas, with tools that they can take home and share with their families.
“They are also making a ‘local’ impact, with the potential to do so much more, as the program continues to grow across several urban farms,” said Melissa Heflin, Ray’s oldest granddaughter. “And, most importantly, they are addressing the issue of ‘food deserts’ by bringing healthy, homegrown food to communities that don’t have access to anything more than a couple of convenience stores. We are very happy to have the opportunity to support Truly Living Well.”
About The Ray C. Anderson Foundation
The Ray C. Anderson Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote a sustainable society by supporting and funding educational and project-based initiatives that advance knowledge and innovation in sustainable production and consumption.
About Truly Living Well
Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, Inc. (TLW) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia that works to engage the community in developing local food systems through education and food production. In addition, TLW demonstrates urban agriculture as a sustainable and economic solution for helping people to eat and live better. http://www.trulylivingwell.com
Click here to see all of the pictures from the tour and presentation.