top of page

Helping our Community

In June 2020, the team behind Merchant found the Cook It Forward Network, a campaign that partners with Madison restaurants and community nonprofits to produce healthy, fresh meals for those who are food insecure.

CIF enlists Madison restaurants to produce individually packaged meals for delivery to local food banks, pantries, and other sites, serving as an intermediary.  Last-mile distribution partners will ensure that the growing number of individuals and families who need the food, and without recourse to access it, receive it.  This effort supports not only those who are food insecure in Madison, especially communities of color disproportionately affected by the pandemic, but helps the restaurants and their ecosystems including farmers, distributors, restaurant employees, and delivery drivers,.  Cook It Forward represents a new community response strategy that brings in new dollars with new partners and different delivery systems.  We are aligning mission-driven small business, traditional non-profits, and community-centered corporate entities.  We are all working collectively on social entrepreneurship, social equity, and social justice-- one dollar at a time.

Cook It Forward
Main (2).jpg

Being able to provide our community food...has been a blessing. We're so grateful.  I have a girly, a young student, more volunteer than an intern, because we didn't have the funds to pay.  With this check, I can give her money to help with school supplies, to thank her for all she's done.  That's amazing!"

- Patrina White, Kennedy Heights CC

Goals & Measures - Economic & Equity Goals

  • 50,000 meals for those in need

  • 100% retaining restaurant employees.  $10/meal to support restaurants to pay workers and rent.

  • $142,000 to support local farms,, producers and distributors

  • $210,000 for local drop-off sites (85% service providers are black- and brown-led nonprofits)

Goals & Measures - Funding Goals

  • $100,000 in individual donations

  • $500,000 in corporate sponsorships

  • $50,000 in grants

Our Partners


Local food banks, community centers including Kennedy Heights Community Center, Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, Fountain of Life, and last-mile delivery providers including FOSTER, Urban Triage, Me to We, Freedom, Inc., and EOTO+.


Collaboration For Good, Food Works, and the Center for Community Stewardship supply technology, legal, accounting, fiscal agency, and administrative assistance.



What We Stand For
bottom of page