NEW YORK – The Urban School Food Alliance (Alliance), a nonprofit coalition of the largest school districts in the United States, and FoodCorps, a national non-profit that connects kids to healthy food in school, so they can lead healthier lives and reach their full potential, announced a strategic partnership today. While continuing to work independently on day-to-day operations, as partners, both groups will collaborate on initiatives to further increase food quality in school meals and improve student health and academic performance across 11 of the largest school districts in the country.
“Both FoodCorps and the Alliance see value in elevating the role of food and nutrition in the way we think about education, the school day, and what kids need to thrive,” said Eric Goldstein, chairman of the Alliance and chief executive officer of School Support Services for the New York City Department of Education. “FoodCorps and the Alliance can work together to enhance the way that academics, policy makers, and the education community think about the role of food on students’ success.”
To formalize partnership, Mr. Goldstein has joined FoodCorps’ Board of Directors and Ms. Cecily Upton, FoodCorps Co-Founder and Senior Vice President, has joined the Urban School Food Alliance Advisory Board. As part of the partnership between both organizations, Ms. Upton and FoodCorps are supporting the search for the Alliance’s first Executive Director. This position will accelerate the Alliance’s impact by driving growth and organizational development. FoodCorps will continue to provide the Alliance with a full-time School Food Procurement Manager to assist Alliance districts with industry engagement, joint procurement support, and data collection for product bids. Bothorganizations will contribute to the strategic development of one another’s programmatic initiatives – including the launch of FoodCorps’ healthy school meals supply-side work, the result of a previous merger with School Food Focus – among other partnership elements.
“Schools are where kids spend half of their waking hours and where they eat nearly half of their daily calories. Over the past two years, FoodCorps and the Urban School Food Alliance have collaborated across multiple channels to make impactful changes and ensure kids receive healthy food in school,” said Curt Ellis, Co-founder and CEO of FoodCorps. “Healthy food is a building block for human potential. It can shape how we feel, how we learn, how much we can achieve in our lives and how long we will live. Both of our organizations are committed to making large-scale change in the school food arena and to helping younger generations become healthier generations.”
The Urban School Food Alliance and FoodCorps believe that their partnership will strengthen their alignment with other non-profit groups and organizations who also work to provide children access to quality, nutritious meals, while incorporating sound environmental practices.
FoodCorps will continue to work closely with the Urban School Food Alliance, whose leadership in the area of large-scale procurement will complement FoodCorps’ strategy to get healthy food onto every school child’s lunch tray and to improve the school lunch experience. The Alliance consists of 11 of the country’s largest urban districts that include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas, Orange County (Orlando), Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), Clark County (Las Vegas), Baltimore City, Philadelphia and Boston. Together, these districts have a student population of nearly 3.7 million, serving 631 million meals each year with an annual budget of $831 million in food and supplies.
FoodCorps and the Urban School Food Alliance will coordinate fundraising and communication efforts to help both organizations advancetheir joint mission. Since 2011, FoodCorps has established itself as a leader in providing healthy school food education by deploying 225 full-time AmeriCorps volunteers to 350 under resourced schools in 17 states and Washington, D.C.