NRPA is excited to announce the availability of $1.8 million to local park and recreation agencies to support their out-of-school time programs thanks to the Walmart Foundation. This grant program builds on the success we all had in 2014 increasing meals to children in low income communities and implementing healthy eating and physical activity standards.
This year, we will award 50 new one-year grants in the range of $15,000 to $25,000 to eligible park and recreation agencies.
There are four main goals of this year’s program:
1. Increase the number of healthy meals children in low-income communities receive through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) during out-of-school times.
2. Provide evidence-based, age-appropriate nutrition literacy to children that teach the importance of healthy eating and establish healthy habits (in other words, help them make healthy behavior changes).
3. Implement nutrition standards that increase access to healthier foods and support a healthy eating environment.
4. Promote meal and program efficiencies that will reduce costs, maximize existing resources, decrease food waste, and lead to more sustainable meal programs.
We want you to have success applying for the grant funding so here are our five tips to strengthen your application:
Tip 1: Ensure your agency is serving meals year-round (summer and before/after-school) through USDA meals programs. This is a requirement for applying for this year’s funding.
Tip 2: Explain clearly how your agency will use the grant funding to support the four goals of the program. When you check out the application, the four goals are listed on the first page (and they are up at the top of this post too).
Tip 3: Collaborate with staff at all levels within your agency to ensure success in the long-run (a Letter of Support is required from your Director).
Tip 4: Your agency needs to be a Premier Member of NRPA before grant funds can be distributed. Talk to your agency director or leadership if you are not sure of the membership type you have.
So, if you are Premier, great! If not, have a talk with your Director or other leadership about this membership option. You can even contact NRPA’s membership team directly to find out more about the benefits it provides.
Current membership will be confirmed during the application review process so please verify that your membership is current prior to the application deadline.
Tip 5: Be sure to submit accurate meal counts in your application (this includes all meals served through USDA meal programs at your sites in 2014). These numbers are used as baseline data and NRPA will compare them to the numbers you submit at the end of the grant period. They will also be used for reporting purposes to the Walmart Foundation.
Bonus Tip: The application for the grant funding is available online. Make sure you submit your completed application by midnight ET on March 18, 2015.
How would grant funding to support your meals and health and wellness initiatives change your agency or community? Leave a comment below or tweet us @NRPA_News.
*This blog post was updated on 3/16/15 to reflect grant changes.
Kellie May is NRPA's Senior Program Manager.