(Prnewswire) New York The Walmart Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) have launched a new program to expand access to healthy, affordable food in under-resourced communities, with an intentional focus on the Southeast region.

Known as the Equitable Food Access grant program, the $1.5 million effort is funding eight community based nonprofits led by people of color and supporting efforts that range from farmer led urban agriculture to mobile food markets to the establishment of a community food policy council.

“The Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity is committed to addressing disparities in health outcomes, and we know that access to nutritional foods is closely connected to health,” said Naomi Gunnell, a director for the Center for Racial Equity. “This grant to LISC will help provide communities with more food and nutrition security.”

The grant program also responds to the philanthropic gap facing organizations led by people of color. Research from The Bridgespan Group and Echoing Green found that Black-led nonprofits, like those included among the grantees, had unrestricted net assets that were 76 percent less than their counterparts, making it more difficult to operate their organizations and grow their impact.

“Organizations based in and led by people from the community are best positioned to tackle the social determinants of health that affect them, including access to healthy food,” said Denise Scott, LISC president. “This is particularly important given the persistent racial disparities in health and life expectancy, especially for people with limited financial means and living in under-resourced communities. Our collaboration with the Walmart Foundation promotes food justice as part of larger strategies to improve community health.”

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