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Grants and Awards

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Grants Received: 

Technology Innovation Grant (TIG) 

The School Nutrition Unit and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) have been collaborating to streamline the administrative processes (e.g. applications, claim submissions, and reviews) related to operating federal nutrition programs. The agencies have been working with a vendor to develop and implement a new shared technology solution for all child nutrition programs. The new system will be in place by Oct. 2020 and will look and function very similar to the current system to ensure a smooth transition. Both state agencies are confident this technology system will improve program efficiency and integrity, reduce errors and increase customer satisfaction. For questions, please contact Amanda Mercer.  

For more detailed information about this project, please view the Technology Innovation Grant (TIG) Overview (PDF)


Blueprint Implementation Grant 

December 2019 Update: 

The School Nutrition Unit is excited to announce the award of a three year implementation grant from the Colorado Health Foundation. This grant allows School Nutrition to support SFA’s and sponsors in maximizing participation in child nutrition programs in new and innovative ways. This includes: providing in-person 1:1 technical assistance across the state, expanding on existing meal quality work through new hands-on culinary trainings, improving data utilization in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, and much more! 

This award comes after a year of detailed planning and SFA & Sponsor surveying across the state, culminating in the final report (PDF) based on School Nutrition’s needs assessment. As a reminder, the needs assessment included both the statewide survey and key informant interviews in order to gain greater insight of the opportunities & barriers to increasing participation in/access to federal child nutrition programs. 

The work of the implementation grant, along with continued collaboration with the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, provides the groundwork to ensure these critical feeding programs reach all of Colorado’s students and families.


Available Grants: 

School Food Authorities (SFAs) are encouraged to apply for grant funding to support program innovation, expand access to meals and improve program quality. Current funding opportunities are listed below: 


Community Innovation in Summer Meals 

The Community Innovation in Summer Meals Program is an expansion of the successful Community Meals Pilot Program administered by the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry Campaign over the last three years in Colorado. The goal of this grant is to expand the Community Meals Model by supporting summer meal sponsors in implementing best practices, in coordination with community partners, shown to be effective in increasing youth participation and program access. Best practices include selecting locations that reduce the distance kids must travel to a summer site, marketing and promotions, working with trusted community members to support the program (e.g. provide activities, serve meals), aligning meal service with programming and activities, innovative food service models (e.g. mobile meals), and offering free adult meals. Approximately $20,000 will be available for the 2020 program year, awarding a total of 4 summer sponsors a $5,000 grant.

Priority will be given to returning 2019 summer sponsors in good standing that demonstrate:

  • Increasing access to summer meals in underserved and/or rural locations;
  • Grant activities will be done in coordination with new or existing community partners; and
  • A plan to implement best practices shown to be effective in increasing participation and access.

Resources and Important Dates


USDA Equipment Grant

The CDE School Nutrition Unit will competitively award U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service Equipment Assistance Grants to eligible school food authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). These funds will allow SFAs to purchase new equipment, replace old equipment or renovate existing equipment to:

  • Serve healthier school meals, that meet the meal patterns, with emphasis on more fruits and vegetables.

  • Improve food safety.

  • Expand access and participation in the NSLP or School Breakfast Program.

The USDA Equipment Grant is now open!

For more information or questions, please contact Megan Johnson


Local Food Program Grant

With the passage of Colorado HB-1132 during the 2019 legislative session, the Local Food Program will offer selected School Food Authorities (SFAs) a reimbursement for the purchase of Colorado grown, raised, or processed products. This program encourages SFAs to procure local products, foster nutrition education, bolster farm to child nutrition activities, and support Colorado producers and farmers. SFAs that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are eligible to apply for this opportunity. Available funding ($500,000 for SY 20-21) will be distributed as a reimbursement to SFAs that are selected during the application process. For questions, contact Erin Opgenorth. CDE will prioritize SFAs that: 

  • Demonstrate a commitment to local purchasing or food and agricultural education;
  • Have a kitchen with the ability to store, prepare, and serve local food products;
  • Have greater than 25% of its students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Important Dates: 

  1. Oct. 7: Application Opens 
  2. Oct. 22Local Food Program Webinar Recording 
    1. Participants learn about application instructions and requirements for the Local Food Program.
  3. Nov. 26: Application Deadline 
  4. March 1: SFAs Selected 
  5. Aug. 1: SFAs Report to CDE 


Grant Resources