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EIT Food to receive $500,000 Citi Foundation funding to improve food security in Europe

  • EIT Food to receive funding from the Citi Foundation Global Innovation Challenge, which aims to pilot and expand solutions to improve food security globally
  • The $500,000 funding will be used to kickstart the EIT Food Ample Program to co-create interventions with marginalised communities to improve access to and affordability of food
  • The Ample Program will take place across two European cities, beginning with Madrid in October 2023, creating a blueprint for cities across the world
26 Sep 2023

EIT Food, the world’s largest agrifood community, will receive $500,000 in funding from the Citi Foundation’s first-ever Global Innovation Challenge, a new model to identify and provide philanthropic support to community organisations that are developing innovative solutions to social and economic challenges facing low-income communities. EIT Food is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

The inaugural Global Innovation Challenge is providing a total of $25 million to 50 community organisations working to improve food security and strengthen the financial health of low-income families and communities around the world. Each chosen organisation has been granted $500,000 to support programmes across four key areas: food access, availability, affordability and community resilience. The recipients of the grants were chosen from over 1,000 submissions across 80 countries, following a global RFP in February 2023.

The funding will be used for EIT Food’s Ample Program, a social innovation and enterprise programme that aims to co-create interventions with marginalised communities to improve access to and affordability of food, leading to improved health outcomes.

The initiative will take place over 24 months (2 October 2023 to 31 September 2025) in two European cities and will involve EIT Food working with local partners to help entrepreneurs access tools, training, and funds for food-related businesses.

Improving health outcomes in marginalised communities

The Ample Program aims to fulfil Citi Foundation’s ambition to do “More than Philanthropy” by creating genuine business development opportunities generated in and by the communities that Citi Foundation is focused on; thereby embedding behaviours that create lasting improvements for these communities’ economic and health wellbeing.

Three core elements of Community, Business and Learning will support each other to create an effective city-based intervention to improve access to and affordability of food, leading to improved health outcomes, increased food sovereignty, and ultimately improved food security.

The first of the two cities will be Madrid, Spain, where targeted interventions may include:

  • Working with existing collaborative spaces where communities grow and prepare food, create new businesses, and sell products and services.
  • Tackling the challenge of affordability to scale healthier alternatives to high fat, salt and sugar food provision.
  • Helping the local community by supporting entrepreneurs, thereby contributing to creating new employment opportunities.

The experience of the Madrid programme will then be used to inform and create a blueprint for use in other communities, with a pilot in a second European city to be announced. It is expected that on-the-ground insights gained during this program can be used to empower other groups, cities and funding bodies to collaborate on effective interventions.

“We are delighted to be a recipient of the Citi Foundation Global Innovation Challenge, and to announce the launch of the Ample Program to work with marginalised communities to co-create solutions to improve access to healthy, affordable food.

We know that lasting change comes through building solutions with and for local communities, which is why we have designed a programme that puts co-creation at its heart. It is only by working to empower communities that we will be able to build a future-fit food system that meets the needs of everyone.”

- Jayne Brookman, Chief Partnership Officer at EIT Food

“We are excited to take this initiative forward from our Southern office and extend our commitment to creating social impact through our projects. It’s truly a pleasure to collaborate on the Ample Program and contribute to enhancing food accessibility for vulnerable communities in Madrid."

- Begoña Perez Villarreal, EIT Food South Director

"The Citi Foundation's Global Innovation Challenge is designed to help new ideas grow and increase their impact.

"EIT Food will help us in our commitment to make a positive impact in the communities where we work, providing their experience in finding solutions that can change lives and strengthen the health of disadvantaged groups.”

- Pedro López-Quesada, President of Citi in Spain

For more information on the Global Innovation Challenge and a complete list of grant recipients, please visit

About EIT Food 

EIT Food is the world’s largest and most dynamic food innovation community. We accelerate innovation to build a future-fit food system that produces healthy and sustainable food for all. 

Supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union, we invest in projects, organisations and individuals that share our goals and vision for a healthy and sustainable food system. We unlock innovation potential in businesses and universities and create and scale agrifood startups to bring new technologies and products to market. We equip entrepreneurs and professionals with the skills needed to transform the food system and put consumers at the heart of our work, helping build trust by reconnecting them to the origins of their food.

We are one of nine innovation communities established by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe. 

Find out more at or follow us via social media:

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

About Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfil our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit