October 2016

When: Wednesday, October 19, 5:30-7:30pm
What: "Belly Goes Purple" fundraising event. $16 gets you a customizable ramen bowl and drink ticket. Purple Asparagus receives all proceeds after food costs.
Where: BellyQ Chicago
Update: SOLD OUT!! Keep an eye out for new events.
What: Low Line Market
When:Thursday, November 3 (weather permitting) 3:00-6:00p.m.
Where: 3410 N Southport Ave, Chicago IL
What: Purple By Night
When: April 30, 2017
Where: The Dawson
Coming this April, we'll be having an adults-only fundraiser at The Dawson. Stay tuned for details to come.

In most people's minds, the new year happens sometime in January. For Purple Asparagus the new year starts with the school year, with renewed energy and focus as we get back into the classrooms across schools in Chicago.
Now that the weather is beginning to cool off, we're reminded of familiar fall tastes - simmering soups, hot cider and maybe even apple stack snack or two. We're bringing these nourishing autumn flavors into 17 schools this year, sharing healthy and whole-foods-based ingredients.
We have lots of news for you this fall, along with upcoming events, program updates and more ways to get involved than ever.  We're in the middle of our Fall fundraising drive and are asking our supporters to help us kick off the school year right by raising $15,000 by October 31st so that we can continue fighting the nation's obesity crisis right here at home. Be a part of that change by giving today.

Hope to see you soon!  
Melissa Graham
Head Spear, Purple Asparagus


We're sad summer is over, but what a great one it was! We participated in numerous community events throughout the city, with impressive partners such as the Chicago Park District, Steve & Kate's Camp, Low Line Market and the YMCA. 
Currently, we're gearing up for our Delicious Nutritious Adventures - which we couldn't be more excited for! This programming begins in October with a focus on apples and will be delivered to 17 schools this year.
We always need volunteers to assist in the classroom, so please click here join our volunteer mailing list and be on the look out for emails regarding opportunities inside and outside the classroom. And what could be more than helping lead a Delicious Nutritious Adventure with a partner? Many of our volunteers ask friends and family to volunteer with them, which means more help for Purple Asparagus and more quality time together.

Photograph by Paige Worthy 

We are thrilled to be working with McGuffin Creative Group, who recently awarded Purple Asparagus $25,000 grant for creative services from Chicago-based  agency,   McGuffin Creative Group. We were selected from a nationwide search of more than 60 applicants for help with brand positioning and marketing outreach.
"We thought Purple Asparagus was thinking in terms of the big picture, and that really stood out to us," said Nick Orlandi, account manager, at McGuffin responsible for the grant. The agency will help create a licensed Delicious Nutritious Adventures program kit for schools in other markets, with an easy training and on-boarding process for teachers and lead educators spearheading the prorgram. Together over the coming months, we'll be working together on collateral, packaging, websites, brochures and more, from the ideas phase all the way to the execution phase.
"We aligned with Purple Asparagus on their mission to provide as much impact as possible," said Nick. "We knew this could be launched on a bigger scale from a local organization with a really big vision."

McGuffin Creative Group is a 25-member creative agency whose specialties range from branding to advertising, web design to direct marketing. Founded in 2004, some of the agency's clients include BMO Harris Bank, Allstate and, as well as nonprofits like Common Threads, Casa Central and the Chicago Police Foundation. 

Development Chair
For Vova Kagan, a focus on health runs in the family: both his parents are medical doctors, and he currently works in a healthcare startup to help patients manage chronic conditions utilizing technology.
But he also believes there's another "low-tech" way to prioritize wellness, and that includes eating healthy, whole-foods-based ingredients.
"I grew up eating this way, but I know not everyone is so lucky," says Vova. "I think it's important to share with others, especially children, how healthy food can be delicious."
As a Purple Asparagus board member responsible for development, he works with corporate donors and other partners to coordinate giving campaigns, plan fundraising events and secure grants.
While big grants and corporate sponsorships are very important, Vova says one of the best ways to make a difference for an organization is to tap your personal network and make small changes like using Amazon Smile, writing letters to friends or simply ask for small donations.
"A network of an average person will yield more funds than one large donor," he says. "A lot of people around you are looking for things to support and automatically trust their friends or family. Don't be afraid to ask around. If you tell someone youre involved and why, they're more likely to contribute."
Vova was instrumental in organizing our next sold out fundraising event, "Belly Goes Purple," which will take place on October 19th from 5:30-7:30pm at BellyQ.


Meez Meals: Have you tried Meez Meals? It's Chicago's best meal prep and delivery service with a focus on healthy and local ingredients. Use the coupon code Purple20 to get $20 off your first order, which includes delivery. Click here to visit the site.
Amazon Smile: Each time you make an Amazon purchase is another opportunity to support Purple Asparagus. Simply choose us as your charitable organization and Amazon will donate a 0.5% of the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to us. There's no cost to you! AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same AmazonPRIME benefits. Click here to associate Purple Asparagus with your account.
Investing In Communities: When you find your realtor through IIC, Purple Asparagus gets 20% of the broker commission. It's a win-win-win: You pick the broker you want, the broker is happy to get your business, and Purple Asparagus gets $500 per $100,000 of the price when you buy or sell a home or lease commercial space. Learn more here

Photograph by Jeffrey Nian


CLASSROOM ASSISTANTS: Want to step inside the classroom to take kids on Delicious Nutritious Adventures? We can't do it without you! Purple Asparagus is always looking for a few good spears to join us in the classroom as assistants to our lead instructors who can help out in the classroom for a half-day. If you love to work with kids and have even the slightest interest in this role, please contact  or 312.906.7622 for a more detailed discussion.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Purple  Asparagus is expanding its board and seeking additional committee members. We need dedicated and passionate individual to help us out with governance, ensuring the board maximizes its effectiveness for the betterment of the organization. We also need an experienced communications chair to over see a communications strategy and calendar that includes electronic, social and print media outlets.
If you're interested in learning more or submitting an application, please contact us at

EVENT COMMITTEE MEMBERS : Purple Asparagus is seeking fun and creative individuals to serve on its event committee members, which will plan our new fundraiser Purple By Night on April 30, 2017 at the Dawson. If you have any questions, think you are the right Spear for the job, or if you know someone who is, please send a resume and cover letter to Stephen Landfear at

Partner News: 

When we are sick or need health advice, it is often our first instinct to turn to the women in our lives. But, do women make the time to stay on top of their own health care needs? That is why in July, Harmony Health Plan launched EmPowerHer. EmPowerMe. EmPowerUs. The EmPowerHer women's health initiative encourages women, girls, and the people that love them to take preventative health measures to live healthier better lives!

EmPowerHer focuses on health issues that impact our community such as diabetes, asthma, prenatal/ postpartum, well- child visits, childhood immunizations, and breast cancer.
Purple Asparagus is one of 15 community partners spreading the health message through the EmPowerHer initiative and helped kick-off the program with a two-part community press conference on the South Side of Chicago and Cicero, IL.  We provided a cooking demonstration showcasing healthy, delicious, and budget friendly recipes.  Their carrot tacos, strawberry salsa, and mint lemonade was a big hit with the crowd.
Throughout the year, EmPowerHer will be featured at upcoming community event throughout Cook County.
For more information, please visit EmPowerHer , or call 1 (800) 378-0806.
Thank you for your continued support! Sincerely, Purple Asparagus
The Green Exchange Building | 2545 W. Diversey Ave. | Suite 203 | Chicago, IL 60647 | | 773.991.1920

Thank you to Erin Sarris of Spun Copy