August 20, 2021
In our ongoing mission to recognize and support innovation in our region, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is pleased to announce its 2021 Innovation Fund has awarded a $40,000 grant to the George Mason University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Food Depot.

This Innovation Fund grant to the Food Depot will provide the opportunity to further develop a community of innovators and entrepreneurs in Mason’s CIE. Specifically, Mason's students and faculty will create, develop, and staff the Food Depot.

The Food Depot is a small farm, food and beverage retail pop-up, and program that will make locally grown and produced items available while helping activate and energize underutilized retail real estate in Northern Virginia.

“Grants from the Innovation Fund are truly 'venture' in nature, supporting nascent programs that, but for the Innovation Fund support, may not have launched. The Fund invests in community to help solve local problems, strategically partnering with organizations or schools to launch promising, innovative programs and initiatives that have the potential to transform our region,” said Eileen Ellsworth, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

Mason’s faculty, full-time staff, and students will operate the pop-ups and programs, manage vendor relations, inventory, and sales, account for the sales and operations, and grow relationships with local suppliers to the Food Depot. Twenty percentage of revenue will go to food pantries helping to fight food insecurity in the region. A special emphasis will be placed on working with food and beverage businesses owned and operated by members of underserved populations.

Community Foundation’s Innovation Fund promotes inventiveness, creativity, and new design, seeding a more innovative ecosystem in the region. To learn more about the Innovation Fund visit: