Funding Opportunity: Healthy K-12 School Meals through Scratch Cooking

Funding Overview

Ensure that all kids have healthy meals at school by supporting equipment costs and other needs for school districts that are transitioning from processed school meals to healthy meals cooked from scratch. Generally, the maximum grant award will be $250,000, although district size, the collaborative nature of the work and relative need will be taken into consideration.

Grant Deadline: Not accepting applications. This work is in progress.

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Have questions? Contact your Program Officer for more information.

Associated Measurable Results: Applicants have been asked to indicate how their work will numerically: 

  • Increase the number of children who receive healthy food and beverages at school and in child care settings.

Additional Evaluation Activities:

School districts agree to participate in evaluation activities which include interviews with food service directors and two to three additional stakeholders identified in partnership with the grantee. Interviews will be conducted with grantees to help answer the evaluation question: To what extent do districts benefit from investments in capital and other funded strategies? 

To be considered for funding, applicants demonstrated within the grant application how they meet the following criteria:

During the review process, the Colorado Health Foundation verified status of compliance with federal and state policies in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education Office of School Nutrition.

  • Schools districts serve a high-need student population in at least one of three ways:
    • The district’s free and reduced price meal eligibility rate must be 50 percent or higher.
    • The district must have a minimum of 5,000 total eligible students.
    • The district must participate in or be pursuing the Community Eligibility Provision
      • Applicants were expected to include the average number of lunches served daily (#), total district enrollment (#), and average daily participation (%) in the application.
  • Proposed investments  support (through increased food quality, efficiency, student participation, etc.) an ongoing transition from processed to healthy scratch cooking. 
  • Demonstrated commitment from district administration.
  • Youth and family involvement in guiding meal changes.
  • Demonstrated approach to or plan for building broad school and community demand for healthy school meals.
  • Specifically, the district was required to participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and comply with or be working toward compliance with federal standards.
  • Specifically, the district was required to be in compliance with or working toward compliance with related state policies:
  • For collaboration requests: Applicant considered for funding were required to be a school district or other non-profit fiscal agent. A majority of participating districts were expected to meet the funding criteria listed above.

What we considered for funding:

  • Major meal equipment
  • Software or other business management tools
  • Capital renovations (e.g. accommodating increased energy demands, cafeteria redesign,etc.)
  • Marketing efforts – may involve students, parents, teachers, other school stakeholders, community partners
  • Improved food storage capacity
  • Innovative efforts to achieve scale, including improved distribution systems or shared services such as workforce, food purchasing, food preparation, business software and training, etc.

What we did NOT consider for funding:

  • Staff salaries
  • Cost of food
  • Standing capital improvement plans without strong ties to scratch cooking improvements
  • Culinary training
  • Strategic planning for individual district meal programs