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community development

  • We have an opportunity to increase access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food for people in low-income communities and vulnerable situations. We’re working to make this a reality by intentionally and strategically expanding our presence in low-income communities and partnering with organizations already leading the charge. 

How is this better for all?


    Giving our people the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to increased food security generates pride in our work and furthers our collective Better for All efforts.


    Directly addressing the barriers preventing underserved communities from having access to culturally appropriate, fresh, healthy food and essential items.


    Investing in communities through fund distribution, volunteerism, and in-kind contributions creates paths to global socioeconomic equity – addressing these disparities is part of creating a more just and equitable planet.

Our Approach

Whether it’s through associate volunteering, donating food, or providing financial support, we always think creatively about how to support communities in need and carefully select partners that align with our mission.

The UNFI Foundation supports nonprofits across the U.S. that are addressing pressing challenges in our food system. Our annual giving helps us to extend our reach beyond our direct business operations and channel funds to the people and programs doing the best work in soil health, climate-smart agriculture, and innovations in food security, and changing the way food is grown, accessed, and enjoyed. We don’t just view UNFI Foundation grants as dollars and cents, but rather roots we’re propagating and deepening for the food systems we know are possible.

  • Many of the grantees we support through the UNFI Foundation also have a common goal of food justice, which is especially important with the rising rate of food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working toward food justice means our UNFI Foundation grantees recognize the overlap between food insecurity, social inequity, environmental justice and sustainability.

    Learn more about the UNFI Foundation here.

  • UNFI Foundation associates presenting UNFI Foundation grantee Pilot Light with large grant check

We work in food distribution – this means we have an opporunity to not only distribute food to retail customers, but also to distribute food to people in low-income communities and to those in vulnerable situations.

  • We also take great pride in our food donation programs, including our new Friends of UNFI Food Bank pilot program with PCC Community Markets, the largest consumer-owned food cooperative in the United States. Through the program, select food banks in the Seattle area that work with PCC can order food directly from UNFI’s catalog, allowing them to access our wide assortment of products at discounted prices to better serve the personal and nutritional needs of their communities. Our Brands+ team, and Field Day brand specifically, is also working with PCC’s Shared Values Meal program to provide organic products at an affordable price point.

    We also view our expansion into conventional food stores as a major contribution to our food access efforts and ambition to make high-quality, nutritious food more available and affordable.

Helping Hands are our grassroots associate committees that drive philanthropic work and facilitate all of our community development opportunities on a local level. Associates can submit requests for donations to local nonprofits as part of the Helping Hands program. And, just like with our UNFI Foundation and financial donation recipients, we encourage associates to submit ideas for company-sponsored volunteer activities. COVID-19 has added a new challenge to in-person events, but associates are still able to virtually organize and participate in several company-wide fundraising and volunteer events each year. We will continue to expand volunteering opportunities and are proud to see our associates show up and make lasting impacts in our broader communities.

  • Company-wide volunteerism events through our Helping Hands program include delivering meals to those in need, setting up food drives for people and pets, championing fundraising walks and runs, and organizing park and other trash cleanups. 

Recent Progress

Our UNFI Foundation and food access programs are two of the many ways we increase our community support in regions across North America.

UNFI President presenting grant check.

Food Equity Grant

In 2022, we created UNFI’s Food Equity Grant – our largest ever grant to date – to find a partner through which we can help promote food equity, eliminate hunger, and improve public health in Rhode Island. The UNFI Foundation selected Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT), a nonprofit that works with Rhode Island farmers to increase the supply of local, organic produce by addressing key barriers of entry for small-scale, regenerative farmers.

Front of a Cub store.

CUB Community Markets

We’re honored to have received the 2021 Community Uplift Award from the Food Industry Association for the CUB Foods Northside Community Center and youth development program in North Minneapolis, which served the local community as a nonprofit under the CUB Foundation with temporary food market and shuttle services in North Minneapolis neighborhoods.

Feeding America logo

Friends of UNFI Food Bank

After a successful pilot of our Friends of UNFI Food Bank program with PCC Community Markets, through which we offer non-profit partners access to products at discounted rates, we worked with Feeding America to launch additional pilots in Minnesota and Illinois.