School districts offered $1 million incentive to serve healthier meals


Related Articles

Three top school food nutrition foundations are opening the second round of School Food Support Initiative grant funding, committing more than $1 million to support up to seven school districts across the nation in the hopes of incentivizing them to improve school meals.

Launched in 2015 by the Life Time Foundation, in partnership with the Chef Ann Foundation and the Whole Kids Foundation, the School Food Support Initiative helps motivated school districts establish healthier meal programs by providing technical assistance, strategic planning and funding opportunities needed to improve operations.

In its launch year, the selective application process yielded a cohort of five school districts: Bellingham Public Schools (Wa.), Buford City Schools (Ga.), Passaic School District (N.J.), Warren City Schools (Oh.) and Watertown Public Schools (Mass.) with a combined total enrollment of more than 37,000. Districts in the 2015/2016 cohort are currently in the assessment and strategic planning stages of the program and will work toward implementing the recommendations they receive during this school year.

Applications for the 2016/2017 cohort are being accepted now through Nov. 30, 2016. Selected districts will each receive program services valued at approximately $192,000, including:

  • Program implementation by a team of renowned school food experts:
    • Chef Ann Cooper, an internationally recognized chef, educator and advocate of healthy food for all children, and Food Service Director of Boulder Valley School District.
    • Chef Beth Collins, a School Food Systems Consultant and Director of Operations for the Chef Ann Foundation.
    • A one and a half day intensive workshop for Food Service Directors at Boulder Valley School District, focused on human resources, finance, procurement, menu planning, facilities and community engagement.
    • On-site assessment and technical assistance.
    • Report of assessment findings and recommendations.
    • On-site debrief and strategic planning based on assessment findings.
    • Twenty hours of technical assistance and peer-to-peer collaboration.
    • Ongoing peer-to-peer collaboration for best practices, sharing and support through the Life Time Foundation Collaborative.
    • The opportunity to apply for a one-time $50,000 systems grant to help implement assessment recommendations. These funds will support system-wide improvements such as equipment purchases, K-12 software investments, etc provided by Life Time Foundation or Whole Kids Foundation.

To be considered, school districts must:

  • Be firmly committed to improving their meal program and be able to demonstrate support for improvement from the district leadership, including a commitment to reduce and remove the Life Time Foundation's "Seven Ingredients of Concern" (trans fats and hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, hormones and antibiotics, processed and artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and flavors, artificial preservatives, and bleached flour) and to implement a scratch-cooking and fresh whole foods approach to their meal programs.
  • Participate in the National School Lunch Program.
  • Have a minimum enrollment of 3,000 students.

A portion of available funding is reserved for schools within 20 miles of a Life Time Destination.

Eligible districts will be ranked for selection based on the strength of their applications and their identified needs, and top candidates will be invited to participate in an interview prior to final selection.

For more information or to submit an application, click here