OVERVIEW

Our Goal: Healthy Food ACCESS for ALL

The Schenectady Foundation intends to invest $300,000 in coming months to support 4-6 projects of various sizes that help Schenectady families at all times be able to access sufficient amounts of health food to meet their dietary needs. Eligible applicants will be 501c3 non-profits that serve the people of Schenectady County. 

The Foundation welcomes a variety of applicants and approaches addressing the impact statement. Our intention is to invest funding to:

  • Pilot new program ideas to increase access to healthy food;
  • Encourage continuation and/or expansion of currently successful programs; or
  • Build capacity within Schenectady’s food system to ensure its growth and sustainability.

The Foundation values the following components in projects for our investment. Our strongest applicants:

  • Include the users of their services and other stakeholders closest to the program in program planning and evaluation;
  • Establish strategic, integrated and accountable partnerships positioned to achieve desired impacts that may lead to sustainable change;
  • Utilize a base of research, evidence and proven best-practices in guiding program development;
  • Have a results-orientation; a culture that values measurable outcomes; and
  • Effectively leverage public, private and philanthropic resources.

Applications are now available and will close on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Please contact Kristi Miller at (518) 393-9500 or KMiller@schenectadyfoundation.org with questions.

WHY IT MATTERS

More than a year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Schenectady Foundation is still standing at the forefront of food issues in the County, working to understand what it means to truly address food insecurity, and how to engage the people and organizations within the food system to improve the quality of life for community members.

Food insecurity is not a new issue, and back in 2007, New York State developed a Food Policy Council, setting forth the following goals for residents across the State:

  • Maximize participation in, and support for, food and nutrition assistance programs;
  • Strengthen the connection between local food products and consumers;
  • Support safe, efficient, and profitable agricultural food production and retail food infrastructure;
  • Foster a culture of healthy and local eating for all New York State residents.

In 2017, Schenectady County Public Health Services led the development of the Schenectady County Healthy & Equitable Food Action Plan. The plan suggested four main goals in an effort to address food insecurity and its root causes in the County:

  • Goal #1: Build community-wide support for healthier food
  • Goal #2: Increase accessibility and affordability of healthier food
  • Goal #3: Engage all members of our diverse community in collaborating to support healthier eating
  • Goal #4: Ensure community ownership of a sustainable, healthier food system

Additionally, Capital Roots recently released their comprehensive Greater Capital Region Food System Assessment with the mission to “build equity and economic resilience in the Greater Capital Region Foodshed, specifically for regional producers and low-income consumers.”

The two overarching recommendations of the assessment are:

  • Equity: Build community food security by ensuring healthy food access at retail outlets for all residents,” and
  • Economic resilience: “Grow the local food economy by building capacity in wholesale market channels in the region to purchase more local food.”

Utilizing these documented resources, as well as the expertise of local leaders and organizations, we begin a multi-year process to improve our local food systems, and ensure that the residents of Schenectady County have reliable access to healthy food.

The pandemic taught us that, particularly in crisis, we are well served to develop innovative ways to ensure that people have access to healthy food. We had no choice but to think in different ways, and to work together better than ever before. We learned that reaching a point where all our citizens are food-secure is many levels deep, requiring that we invest ourselves in understanding the dynamics of this multi-faceted issue.

We understand that, even with collaborative and concerted efforts, we will not be able to “solve” food insecurity in the short term. We are interested in hearing from strong partners with innovative, proven and evidence-based ideas, able to help us move the needle on what has become a complex and intractable issue.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Consider the following documents and the issues they raise on the systemic changes needed. The more we know about food insecurity, the more we may be able to help advocate for change. 

DONATE

Your donation to this specific Fund will make all the difference to food insecure families, and 100% of every donation is distributed to programs in Schenectady County.

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