BOSTON — The Henry P. Kendall Foundation, a philanthropic enterprise focused on strengthening New England’s food system, announced the next phase of its New England Food Vision Prize today: a one million dollar commitment aimed at building resiliency, relationships, and capacity within New England’s food supply chain. This opportunity seeks to fund organizations in New England helping to increase the availability of regionally-produced food for K-12 and higher education institutions.
Disruptions and complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including labor shortages, increased costs, and other external influences, have stressed food service operations of all kinds. The Foundation’s commitment is intended to build and expand pathways for collaboration and partnership between partners along the supply chain with education institutions – traditionally high-volume food purchasers – to increase representation of regionally-produced food.
“The pandemic revealed to everyone just how vulnerable a food system can be when it centers on products sourced from across the country and world” said Foundation Executive Director Andrew Kendall. “This initiative will invest in organizations seeking to establish or grow their supply relationships with educational institutions. We hope to raise awareness, catalyze will, and inspire action that results in a stronger regional food system.”
The New England Food Vision Prize, named for the regional goal of producing 50% of New England’s food within the region by 2060, was launched in 2018 for the region’s 200+ college and university campuses. In its first two years, almost 40% of campus dining directors were actively involved in the Prize program, proposing bold, collaborative, and catalytic ideas to expand regional food on campus menus. The pandemic forced the suspension of the program in 2020 and 2021. In recognition that campus dining operations are still not back to normal, the 2022 Prize program shifts its focus to regional supply chain partners, adds public school districts as institutional partners, and expands the range of Prize awards from $25,000 to $200,000.
This opportunity will establish or strengthen pathways for supplying New England food to educational institutions in New England. Applicants may submit a request individually or as a team. In keeping with a Prize program’s primary objective to foster collaboration, grant applicants must identify at least one educational institution (K-12 or higher education) that can benefit from the proposed project. A letter of support from each partner institution will be required as a part of the full application, but is not required with the letter of interest submission – the first step in the Prize proposal process. If an applicant is an educational institution itself, this satisfies the criterion.
Applicant teams might include:
- Farms / food harvesters / producers
- Food hubs
- Network organizations
- Community-based organizations
- Municipal departments/initiatives
- Higher education institutions
- K-12 schools or school districts
- Additional institutions (healthcare, corrections)
While for-profit businesses may participate as project partners, the primary applicants receiving grant funds from the Kendall Foundation must be nonprofit organizations, government entities, or municipalities.
Use of Funding
Funding may be used in the following ways:
- Infrastructure investment
- Equipment purchase
- Capacity and staffing
- Training and certification
- Marketing and awareness building
Funding may not be used for the purchase of food or for endowment.
Requests may range from $25,000 to $200,000. A complete budget will be required as part of the full application, if invited, but is not required as part of the Letter of Interest phase. The applicants should also indicate if the project will be completed in one year or two (the maximum).
Project proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Impactful: The project will lead to increasing the use of regionally-produced food in K-12 public schools/districts or college/university dining programs in New England. It is clear what difference this project will make in the local/regional institutional supply chain and who will benefit as a result.
- Collaborative: Funding would be used to further relationships with institutional food procurement/supply chain partner(s), ultimately providing regional food to at least one identified educational institution.
- Regional: The food impacted by the project should be grown or harvested in New England.
- Measurable: The project identifies at least one metric which the applicant will use to track and report progress at providing regional food to institutions.
- Sustainable: There is a clear plan for how the project will be managed during the grant period and how the project will continue beyond the initial grant period.
- Equitable: The project includes specific action to address injustice and inequity in the food system, including engaging stakeholders in decision-making.
Timeline & Process:
- May 3, 2022: Grant fund announced
- June 30, 2022: Letter of interest due
- July 22, 2022: Finalists are invited to submit full applications
- September 1, 2022: Applications due
- September / October 2022: Selection committee considers applications
- October 20, 2022: Grant awards announced
Initial letters of interest are designed to minimize the effort applicants must initially exert to request potential funding. This one- to two-page letter should indicate the primary grant applicant, include an outline of what will be funded and how much will be requested, and name the institutions that will benefit. Project timelines may extend for as long as 24 months.
Prize winners will be expected to update the Foundation on their progress periodically, and will be invited to participate in a community of practice among other grant recipients to share progress, knowledge, and experiences related to their work.
Complete information and instructions, as well as links to submit a Letter of Interest, are available at the Foundation website.
–Henry P. Kendall Foundation