The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia awarded a $25,000 Innovation Fund grant to the PHILLIPS Programs for Children and Families, a Fairfax-based nonprofit that serves the needs of individuals ages 6-22 with behavioral health needs and developmental disabilities and their families through education, family support services, community education and advocacy.
"We are so delighted to have the opportunity through the Innovation Fund Endowment to further explore models that increase economic success and the dignity of meaningful employment for young adults with behavioral health needs in our Northern Virginia communities," said Piper Phillips Caswell, president & CEO at PHILLIPS Programs.
The grant will be used to support the PHILLIPS school’s urban indoor vertical farm that grows fresh produce based on a current vertical farm operation at one of their school programs. The commercial kitchen immerses students in the professional atmosphere of restaurants, food service and catering. Through this innovative vertical farm program, students learn hands-on education and sustainability job skills, by teaching them how to cook the food they grow.
“This grant to support the PHILLIPS Programs is in perfect alignment with the core mission of the Innovation Fund,” said Eileen Ellsworth, president & CEO at the Community Foundation. “It allows us to support a social enterprise endeavor with a triple bottom line, including economic parity through an employee owned business for people with behavioral health needs that also contributes to the revitalization of a neighborhood in a disinvested community in a green industry that addresses food insecurity and leaves a smaller carbon footprint.”