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Life Time Foundation: School Food Support Initiative

Deadline: November 30, 2016

The Life Time Foundation, Chef Ann Foundation, and Whole Kids Foundation are joining forces to provide technical assistance grants for up to seven U.S. school districts in 2017. The number one request these Foundations hear across the country from food service teams that want to innovate and improve their school meal programs is: “How do we start?” Assessing schools’ current operations is a key step towards enriching and building a stronger food service program. It allows school teams to identify opportunities and challenges to accomplish goals.

The School Food Support Initiative (SFSI) will work with selected districts through a technical assistance program that includes a workshop for food service directors, on-site assessment and assessment debrief, strategic planning, peer-to-peer collaboration, and access to a food service program assistance grant.

Amount: The program has a value of approximately $192,000 per participating district (depending on district size). Specifically, participants will benefit from:

  • A workshop that takes place in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) in Boulder, Colorado, which is one of the best examples of school food service program innovation in the country. It will include programming from leading experts in school food service finance, scratch-cooking systems, and training. The workshop will provide the foundation strategies to successful school food program improvement. It will target human resources, finance, procurement, menu planning, facilities, and community engagement. BVSD has been a “lab environment” in school food system change since its 2008 assessment. During the workshop participants will be able to see these changes first hand and learn how they could be implemented in their districts.
  • On-site assessment and technical assistance: Chef Beth Collins (School Food System Consultant, Co-owner, Lunch Lessons LLC, and Director of Operations at the Chef Ann Foundation) will lead on-site assessment with Ann Cooper (the Lunch Lessons LLC finance expert and Chef), observing the participant’s current operation in action and identifying opportunities for improvement in day-to-day activities. Post visit analysis will result in a report of recommendations that can be used as a road map for next steps, working with leadership and the community.
  • On-site debrief and strategic planning: Chef Ann Cooper and Chef Beth Collins will present the assessment to the district and food service leadership and then lead the food service team through a strategy session to develop goals, actions, responsibilities, and timelines designed to achieve the desired changes as a result of the assessment.
  • SFSI assistance grant: Participating districts will have 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.
  • Technical assistance and peer-to-peer collaboration: Twenty hours of off-site technical assistance will be provided for School Food Support Initiative districts. They will also receive a membership in the Life Time Foundation Collaborative, a community where like-minded school nutrition staff and school food experts, driven to improve school meals, can share best practices, industry updates, menu development, and all other subjects related to the programs they run.

Eligibility: School districts that meet the following:

  • Participation in the National School Lunch Program.
  • Commitment 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” (high-fructose corn syrup; artificial colors; artificial sweeteners; artificial preservatives; trans fats and hydrogenated oils; bleached flour; and hormones and antibiotics in animal products) when possible and to implement a scratch-cooking and fresh whole foods approach to their meal programs. See the following PDF for more details about the seven ingredients of concern: http://www.lifetimefitness.com/content/dam/foundation/pdfs/LFCO140274_TumblerFlyer_v2_2.pdf.
  • Any district may apply to benefit from this program, but note that the School Food Support Initiative is ideal for districts with a minimum enrollment of 3,000.

Note: A portion of available funding is reserved for schools within 20 miles of a Life Time destination (https://www.lifetimefitness.com/en/locate-club/view-all-clubs.html). There are no New Mexico Life Time destination locations listed.

Link: http://www.chefannfoundation.org/programs-and-grants/school-food-support-initiative/

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