Grass Valley’s BriarPatch invites grant applications from nonprofit groups |

Grass Valley’s BriarPatch invites grant applications from nonprofit groups

BriarPatch Co-op Community Market is accepting applications from local nonprofit organizations for grants of up to $2,500.

The grants are funded by the company’s Cooperative Community Fund, a national effort to support food cooperatives across the U.S. through a co-op’s annual investment interest.

“The interest is what we give away,” BriarPatch Marketing Manager Stephanie Mandel said. “We started giving out these grants in 2000, and I think that year we only had like $250 in interest.”

Groups eligible for the BriarPatch grant must provide service projects in either sustainable agriculture and organic food, hunger and social issues, environmental protection or cooperatives.

Grant applications are due Aug. 31, and grant winners will be awarded in October.

“The grant requirements are in line with what our Ends Policies are,” Mandel said. “Those categories, they correspond to our goals, which are established by our board of directors. Those issues are the ones that we focus on and we do a shopper survey, and those are issues our shoppers have told us that they think BriarPatch should be focusing on.”

The Cooperative Community Fund is structured as an endowment fund, generating interest income for donations. Sponsored by the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation, each fund serves as a means for co-op members and shoppers to make donations to an endowment that donates to local nonprofit organizations. The interest earned by each fund is given annually to local groups.

The BriarPatch fund has supported 50 local organizations with donations totaling $20,000 since it was established in 1999.

“We have a committee, staff, and volunteers that take time to review each application,” Mandel said. “We have almost $90,000 in the fund we don’t draw on, but we draw on the interest for these grants. So the money we have invested is actually invested for the benefit of cooperatives as well. That’s another way this fund benefits the alternative business model of cooperatives.”

Founded in 1976, BriarPatch is Nevada County’s leading natural foods grocer, located on the 200 block of Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley. BriarPatch is cooperatively-owned by over 11,000 owner-households.

Grant applications can be downloaded at, or picked up at the store’s Customer Service window. For more information, contact Mandel at 530-272-5333, ext. 127, or go to

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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