$1 Million+ Available To School Districts Committed To Serving Healthier Meals

Life Time Foundation, Chef Ann Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation partner to support clean food and children's health through School Food Support Initiative. Source: PRNewsFoto/Life Time Foundation.
Life Time Foundation, Chef Ann Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation partner to support clean food and children's health through School Food Support Initiative. Source: PRNewsFoto/Life Time Foundation.

Life Time Foundation, Chef Ann Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation to support clean food and children’s health

Released by Amy Williams, lifetimefitness.com

Dedicated to improving school meals in America, 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.

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 with a combined total enrollment of more than 37,000:

  • Bellingham Public Schools (Washington)
  • Buford City Schools (Georgia)
  • Passaic School District (New Jersey)
  • Warren City Schools (Ohio)
  • Watertown Public Schools (Massachusetts)

Districts in the 2015/2016 cohort are currently in the assessment and strategic planning stages of the program and will work towards implementing the recommendations they receive during this school year.

Applications for the 2016/2017 cohort are being accepted now through November 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; and
  • 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; and
  • 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.

The application deadline is November 30, 2016. 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 and to submit your application, visit www.chefannfoundation.org/programs/school-food-support-initiative.

As a public charity created by Life TimeSM – The Healthy Way of Life Company, the Life Time Foundation’s mission is to help schools eliminate seven harmful ingredients from the food they serve so every child can receive the healthy food they deserve. The Life Time Foundation is focused on improving children’s nutrition through education and the elimination of highly processed and artificial ingredients from school menus, ensuring every child has a healthy start in life. Unlike many other charitable organizations in which a portion of donations is consumed by administrative costs, 100 percent of every dollar donated to the Life Time Foundation directly supports its mission because all administrative costs are contributed by Life Time. For more information, visitwww.ltffoundation.org.

Life Time is a privately held, comprehensive health and lifestyle company that offers a personalized and scientific approach to long-term health and wellness. Through its portfolio of distinctive resort-like destinations, athletic events and corporate health services, the Healthy Way of Life Company helps members achieve their goals everyday with the support of a team of dedicated professionals and an array of proprietary health assessments. As of September 2016 the company operates 121 centers in 26 states and 35 major markets under the LIFE TIME FITNESS® and LIFE TIME ATHLETIC® brands in the United States and Canada. Additional information is available at www.lifetimefitness.com.

Founded in 2009 by Chef Ann Cooper, a pioneer in the fields of school food reform and child nutrition, Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) is a national non-profit organization that believes every child should have access to fresh, healthy food at school every day so that they can develop healthy eating habits to last a lifetime. By providing school communities with tools, training, resources and funding, CAF helps schools create healthier food and redefine lunchroom environments. To date, they’ve reached over 7,000 schools and 2.6 million children in all 50 states. To learn more about their healthy school food programming, visit www.chefannfoundation.org.

Whole Kids Foundation, a Whole Foods Market foundation, is based in Austin, Texas, and operates as an independent, nonprofit organization. Its mission is to improve children’s nutrition and wellness, with the goal of ending the childhood obesity epidemic. Through partnerships with innovative organizations, schools and educators, the foundation works to provide children access to healthier choices and aims to help children reach their full potential through the strength of a healthy body. To learn more about Whole Kids Foundation and its salad bar, school garden and healthy teacher programs, visit www.wholekidsfoundation.org.

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Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.