Seventh Annual Harvesting Hope Raises $42,000 for Purple Asparagus

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Comprised of young, philanthropic-minded professionals, the Builders’ Board of Skender Foundation hosted its annual Harvesting Hope fundraiser on October 18 at Morgan’s on Fulton. This year’s charity partner and beneficiary was Purple Asparagus, a nonprofit organization that educates children, families and the community about eating that’s good for the body and the planet. More than 300 people attended the event and raised $42,000.

Since 2011, Purple Asparagus’ award-winning flagship program, Delicious Nutritious Adventures (DNA), has taught thousands of elementary school children about healthy eating. During DNA, students explore a new healthy ingredient each month by learning about it, tasting it and finally cooking with it. DNA takes place in the classroom during the school day and is taught by trained staff and volunteers.

“We are very thankful to have been chosen by Skender Foundation as the beneficiary of this year's Harvesting Hope,” said Melissa Graham, Founding Executive Director of Purple Asparagus. “We have been growing our programming to reach more children and families in Chicago, in particular developing a summer program, and this gift will significantly impact that work.”

During the 2017-2018 school year, Purple Asparagus brought Delicious Nutritious Adventures to 15 schools serving 60 diverse Chicago neighborhoods, educating over 1,000 students about different fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Purple Asparagus also engages families through their family cooking programs offered to Delicious Nutritious Adventures families and has met thousands of community members at health fairs, farmers’ markets and other community events. In the 2016-2017 school year, Purple Asparagus reached 3,663 children and adults through 170 programs.

“We are excited by the success of this year’s Harvesting Hope,” said Skender Foundation Associate Executive Director, Belinda Moore. “It has been a great partnership with Purple Asparagus, and we are honored to have the opportunity to bring awareness to their organization and the impact they are making on educating children, families and the communities about nutrition. Many thanks to our sponsors and silent auction item donors for their generous contributions, and to attendees for joining us for a wonderful evening.”

In previous years, Harvesting Hope highlighted Snow City Arts, Embarc Chicago, Foundations of Music, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s Emergency Needs Fund, Common Threads and Urban Initiatives—all local charities promoting wellness and education.