Inclusive School Meals Fund

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Grant Description

The Inclusive School Meals Fund supports school districts and organizations in piloting innovative strategies to provide meals served through federally funded child nutrition programs that reflect the needs and preferences of students. Inclusive meals include options that are culturally important, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and account for dietary needs and/or preferences.

Honoring the memory of John T. Woods, co-founder of Full Plates Full Potential who always believed that child hunger in Maine is a solvable issue, this one-time funding opportunity is designed to support bold pilot projects looking to make a lasting impact in their communities.

As a chance for applicants to dream big and think outside of the box, this grant will fund larger investments ranging from $10,000 – $75,000 per grantee. The process for this grant opportunity will be more competitive and will require significant engagement and collaboration from grantees throughout the grant period. Award decisions will be made in collaboration with the Maine Youth Food Security Council.

Strong proposals will present creative solutions to increase access and participation in child nutrition programs like school breakfast, school lunch, afterschool meals, and summer meals. Priority will be given to proposals that offer solutions that could be scaled or replicated by other child nutrition programs across Maine. We value equity and collaboration and will prioritize proposals that incorporate diverse voices and ideas, especially those of students, families, and traditionally marginalized communities. As a one-time funding opportunity, proposals should be designed with project sustainability or growth in mind, or make a compelling case for a substantial one-time impact.

Grantee Expectations

  • High level of accountability. Significant engagement with Full Plates throughout the duration of the grant period in order to collaboratively develop realistic metrics and evaluation methods to assess pilot project progress and success. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Regular check-ins with the Community Engagement Manager & ME Youth Food Security Council
    • Robust reporting and evaluation requirements
    • Collaboration with other grantees
  • Full Plates is not expecting fail-proof pilot projects. The goal of this grant opportunity is to learn, get creative, and try big, new ideas. What is important to Full Plates is that the proposed projects are innovative, bold, and truly attempt to tackle barriers to inclusivity and access to school meals. Taking bigger risks means that pilot projects may not yield the desired results and we understand this possible outcome.

Grant Process & Timeline

  • November 21, 2023 – Google form opens for Initial Proposal Summary Submissions
  • December 12, 2023 – Initial Proposal Summaries Due
  • December 20, 2023 – Applicants Announced & Invited to Submit Application
  • January 27, 2024 –  Application Closes
  • Late February 2024 – Grantees Announced


  • This grant opportunity is open to school districts and organizations operating or working in collaboration with USDA-funded nutrition programs, such as SSO, NSLP, SBP, CACFP At-Risk & SFSP
  • Only one application per school administration unit or organization


Contact Kirsten Tenney, Community Engagement Manager, or 207-812-6820

Grants will be available from
$10,000 - $75,000

For the following:

  • Youth-centered projects that increase student voice and choice in school meals;
  • Sustainably addressing the quality and composition of meals, such as increasing procurement of local foods or production of culturally appropriate meals;
  • Projects aimed at increasing participation in school breakfast, school lunch, afterschool meals, and summer meals;
  • Projects that address the cafeteria environment, such as ensuring students have enough time to get through the lunch line and eat or creatively marketing meals to students; OR
  • A bold solution to a unique barrier that has been identified by the school or community

Contact Us

Questions or comments about our organization and what we do? We want to hear from you! Fill out our contact form with your name, email address, and message, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

14 Maine Street
Box 3
Brunswick, ME 04011