School Food Support Initiative

A Life Time Foundation Program, in partnership with the Chef Ann Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation

What is the School Food Support Initiative? 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. districts in 2017. The number one request we hear across the country from food service teams that want to innovate and improve their school meal programs is: “How do we start?” Assessing your current operations is a key step towards enriching and building a stronger food service program. It allows you to identify opportunities and challenges to accomplish your department’s goals. 

School Food Support Initiative will work with the selected districts through a technical assistance program that includes a workshop for food service directors, on-site assessment and on-site assessment debrief and strategic planning, along with peer-to-peer collaboration and access to a food service program Assistance Grant. The program has a value of approximately $192,000 per participating district (depending on district size). Together with you, we can provide children with the real, healthy food they deserve by eliminating highly-processed and artificial ingredients from school menus. 

Participants will benefit from the following: 

Workshop ‒ Join a select group of districts for a one and one half day intensive workshop that will take place in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD), one of the best examples of school food service program innovation in the country. The workshop will be led by the renowned Chef Ann Cooper (Food Service Director of BVSD and Founder and President of Chef Ann Foundation, Co-owner Lunch Lessons LLC) and Chef Beth Collins (School Food System Consultant - Co-owner, Lunch Lessons LLC, and Director of Operations at the Chef Ann Foundation.) 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 you will be able to see these changes first hand and learn how they could be implemented in your district. 

On-site Assessment and Technical Assistance ‒ Chef Beth Collins will lead on-site assessment with the Lunch Lessons LLC finance expert and Chef Ann Cooper observing your current operation in action and identifying opportunities for improvement in your day-to-day activities. Post visit analysis will result in a report of recommendations that can be used as a road map for your 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.

$50,000 SFSI Assistance Grant ‒ School Food Support Initiative 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 (20) 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. 

Is Your District Eligible to Participate?

Applicant school districts must meet the following:

  1. 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 “Harmful 7 Ingredients” (Trans Fats & Hydrogenated Oils, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hormones & Antibiotics, Processed & Artificial Sweeteners, Artificial Colors & Flavors, Artificial Preservatives, and Bleached Flour) when possible and to implement a scratch-cooking and fresh whole foods approach to their meal programs.
  2. District must participate in the National School Lunch Program. 
  3. While any district may apply to benefit from this program, School Food Support Initiative is ideal for districts with a minimum enrollment of 3,000.

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

Submit your application

Complete an application by November 30, 2016. The application will be available beginning on September 15th. Eligible districts will be ranked for selection based on applications. Top candidates will be invited to participate in interviews for final selection. 

Workshop will be scheduled in late February/early March considering all districts’ availability. Onsite assessments, recommendation and strategy planning will be coordinated individually with each district.

Selected districts will complete a Memorandum of Understanding prior to initiating participation in the program.

*This application is now closed*


School Food Support Initiatve Flyer

Would you like to post information about School Food Support Initiative grant opportunities? You can download a flyer here.