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Grants and Awards

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Available Grants for Sponsors: 

School Food Authorities (SFAs) are encouraged to apply for grant funding to support program innovation, expand access to meals and improve program quality. Current funding opportunities are listed below:

USDA Equipment Grant

The CDE School Nutrition Unit will competitively award U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Equipment Assistance Grants to eligible school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program. These funds will allow SFAs to purchase new equipment, replace old equipment or renovate existing equipment to:​

  • Serve healthier school meals, that meet the meal patterns, with emphasis on more fruits and vegetables.

  • Improve food safety.

  • Support the establishment, maintenance, or expansion of the School Breakfast Program.

School Nutrition is no longer accepting applications for the FY22 USDA Equipment Assistance Grant cycle. Future funding cycles will be announced through the Dish. For questions, contact Jenny Herman at or 720-812-3119.

Local Food Grants

Local Food Program (LFP)

With the passage of Colorado HB-1132 during the 2019 legislative session, the Local Food Program will offer selected School Food Authorities (SFAs) a reimbursement for the purchase of Colorado grown, raised, or processed products. This program encourages SFAs to procure local products, foster nutrition education, bolster farm to child nutrition activities, and support Colorado producers and farmers.


Local Food for Schools Cooperative Grant (LFS)

The CDE School Nutrition Unit received funding through the USDA Local Food for Schools Cooperative Grant. These funds will be sub-awarded to districts in the form of reimbursements for local food purchases of unprocessed or minimally processed food that is grown, raised, produced, aggregated, stored or distributed within Colorado or 400 miles from production to destination. This funding will allow school food authorities to increase the quality and nutrition of school meals, and support local and regional food systems, further benefiting student health and educational outcomes.

To participate in this program and fund local food purchases, follow these steps: 

  • Complete the opt-in form
  • View the webinar recording for more information about the grant
  • Complete the tracker for all purchases throughout the life cycle of the grant (sponsors will receive the tracker after you submit the opt-in form)
  • Purchase from socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, and small businesses whenever possible
  • Submit a completed tracker by the 15th of the month following the end of the quarter. CDE will submit for reimbursement on your behalf

Districts that received a grant award letter for the Colorado Local Food Purchasing Program (HB-1132) for School Year 2022-23, must expend those funds first before the Local Food for School Cooperative Grant funds can be requested.

For more information, view the FAQ document. For questions, email

School Nutrition Unit Grants Received: 

Technology Innovation Grant (TIG) 

The School Nutrition Unit and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) have been collaborating to streamline the administrative processes (e.g. applications, claim submissions, and reviews) related to operating federal nutrition programs. The agencies have been working with a vendor to develop and implement a new shared technology solution for all child nutrition programs. The new system will be in place by Oct. 2020 and will look and function very similar to the current system to ensure a smooth transition. Both state agencies are confident this technology system will improve program efficiency and integrity, reduce errors and increase customer satisfaction. For questions, please contact Amanda Mercer.  

For more detailed information about this project, please view the Technology Innovation Grant (TIG) Overview (PDF)

Blueprint Implementation Grant 

The School Nutrition Unit is excited to announce the award of a three year implementation grant from the Colorado Health Foundation. This grant allows School Nutrition to support SFA’s and sponsors in maximizing participation in child nutrition programs in new and innovative ways. This includes: providing in-person 1:1 technical assistance across the state, expanding on existing meal quality work through new hands-on culinary trainings, improving data utilization in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, and much more! 

This award comes after a year of detailed planning and SFA & Sponsor surveying across the state, culminating in the final report (PDF) based on School Nutrition’s needs assessment. As a reminder, the needs assessment included both the statewide survey and key informant interviews in order to gain greater insight of the opportunities & barriers to increasing participation in/access to federal child nutrition programs. 

The work of the implementation grant, along with continued collaboration with the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, provides the groundwork to ensure these critical feeding programs reach all of Colorado’s students and families.

Grant Resources