Hunger Free Kansas Transformation Fund


According to Feeding America, one out of every eight (1 in 8) Kansans are classified as food insecure, with one in five (1 in 5) children living in households that struggle to provide adequate food for family members. But, we believe this is a solvable issue. That belief led to the 2023 launch of the Hunger Free Kansas initiative, with initial funding and management provided by the Kansas Health Foundation.

This initiative consists of a robust network of stakeholders and infrastructure dedicated to tackling the issue of food insecurity throughout the state. The issue of hunger/food insecurity is highly complex, and will require a variety of ideas and experiments to make progress. To date, work done on this initiative has consisted of listening to a wide range of stakeholders, and opening up a crowdsourcing effort to collect the best ideas for ending hunger in Kansas. During this process, a total of 282 ideas were submitted from 81 different Kansas zip codes.

These initial efforts surfaced several key challenges to ending hunger in Kansas:

  • Lack of shared understand, shared vision and shared momentum between the private, nonprofit and government sectors.
  • Underutilized opportunities to work with schools to maximize funding and nutrition programs.
  • The need exists for more alternative markets for local foods
  • Inefficiencies and bureaucratic processes limit access to social services.


To help make progress on these key challenges, the Kansas Health Foundation is launching a one-time $1 million Hunger Free Kansas Grant Fund to be awarded for projects that:

  • Are regional or statewide in scope
  • Fit into one of the funding categories described in section three below.
  • Can be completed within a timeframe of no more than two years.

We anticipate that the grants will be highly competitive and expect to fund between 3-8 total projects within this initiative.  We hope to catalyze more resources and shared action for impact in the future, and we believe that creativity and learning will be instrumental to this work.  Hunger Free Kansas hopes to learn alongside partners, exploring potential interventions and barriers to progress.  We are looking for new innovations, rather than guaranteed success.  Bold experimentation is encouraged so that funders and other stakeholders will unlock new ways of intervening and activate new resources.

Funding Categories

If you are a partner with a project that is regional or statewide in scope, please consider the four funding categories of 1) Shared Learning, 2) School-based Nutrition Programs, 3) Alternative Markets and 4) Social Services Access. We encourage you to read more about each of these categories by reading the content in the expandable sections below. Once you have done so, please determine which ONE category best aligns with your proposed initiative.  Category three (Alternative Markets) is also open to projects that impact geographic areas inside a metropolitan city (population +100,000) where residents live more than a half mile from affordable, nutritious foods.  It is not expected that applicants will be able to accomplish all objectives in a category. However, priority will be given to applicants who plan to accomplish multiple objectives.


Shared Learning

We are looking for a partner who can imagine, design and execute a project to dramatically increase shared understanding, shared vision and shared momentum among key individuals in the government, non-profit and private sectors.  A lack of connection and understanding exists across sectors.  The key people in each of the sectors are often not on the same page with how they understand the issues, their contributions to the situation, and the necessity of the other sectors.

Specifically, we are looking for a partner who can use the grant to:

  1. Identify a large group of Kansans working in the hunger and food space from each of the three sectors: government, non-profit and private sectors.
  2. Imagine an innovative, inspiring and creative strategy to engage those Kansans (in whole or in cohorts) in meaningful ways that result in:
    • Shared understanding of each sectors’ challenges and opportunities related to hunger and food security in Kansas.
    • Shared vision about what could and should be done to end hunger and increase food security in Kansas.
    • Shared momentum among the participants to work together – ideally in concert with the overall Hunger Free Kansas initiative – to end hunger in Kansas.
  3. Partner with Hunger Free Kansas throughout the project, sharing updates and learnings, and submit an overall final report about the project by 12 months after receiving the grant. The relationships and understanding that will be forged by this project are critical to the early success of the Hunger Free Kansas initiative.

School-Based Nutrition Programs

We are looking for a partner who can help multiple school districts maximize state and federal funds to yield exponential impacts for children and their families.  Data highlights the significant connection between the education sector and food insecurity.  Schools are crucial stakeholders in the fight to end hunger in Kansas, and many school districts are not fully utilizing funding or programming available to them.

Specifically, we are looking for a partner who can use the grant to:

  1. Increase the number of sites offering universal free meals to children.
  2. Work with high need school districts to consider other publicly-funded, available options to increase food access. Opportunities might include: school breakfast program, summer food service program, or subsidizing reduced price meals.  Explore opportunities regarding interventions to maximize/expand these programs when applicable.
  3. Provide tailored engagement with high need school districts on the topic of school-based nutrition programs. Engagement should prioritize facilitated trainings/workshops and listening sessions.
  4. Work with school districts to examine policy changes and set targeted goals for policy adoption in relation to school-based nutrition programs (Ex. Community Eligibility Program application, removal of policy language that punishes children for having meal debt, etc.)
  5. Partner with Hunger Free Kansas throughout the project, sharing updates and learnings detailing successful interventions and common barriers/challenges in accessing state and federal funds.

Alternative Markets

Accessing quality, healthy, fresh, affordable foods can be a challenge for many Kansans.  The recent pandemic illuminated the effects of supply chain disruption on food systems.  More consumers are recognizing the health benefits of locally sourced foods, but barriers exist linking local producers to consumers.  We are looking for a partner that can make significant progress advancing alternative economic markets for locally sourced, nutritious, affordable food. Partners in this category might be regional or statewide in scope.  However, partners who seek to impact geographic areas inside a metropolitan city (population +100,000) where residents live more than a half mile from affordable, nutritious foods are also eligible.

Specifically, we are looking for a partner who can use the grant to:

  1. Identify gaps in an underserved region, large metropolitan area, or across the state in three areas of the local foods system: production, processing, and distribution.
  2. Design infrastructure for alternative markets for local foods. Create an administrative system to provide local produce to one or more alternative markets (ex. healthcare settings, schools, food banks, or individual consumers)
  3. Create a system that connects local growers to alternative market opportunities in an efficient way.
  4. Account for access and affordability of fresh, nutritious foods in the model
  5. Account for collaboration with existing resources that provide capital and technical assistance for grocery stores, co-ops, and farmers markets. Many of these existing resources can be found at Kansas Local Foods. Support exists for: food hubs/cooperatives, impact capital, commercial kitchens, and meat processing and storage lockers.  Existing resources should be combined with this funding opportunity if applicable.

Social Services Access

The cost of everything – including food – is going up, and life is hard for many Kansans right now.  Navigating social services aimed at alleviating food insecurity can be challenging for Kansas families.  Many times, bureaucratic processes are a part of the barrier.  We are looking for a partner with regional or statewide scope who can improve coordination of services and streamline inefficiencies in social services access.

Specifically, we are looking for a partner who can use the grant to:

  1. Enhance enrollment infrastructure and reduce inefficiencies.
  2. Streamline processes between programs that reduce food insecurity.
  3. Bolster data sharing and referral networks within state-level organizations and between programs that reduce food insecurity.
  4. Suggest a plan for collaborating with government partners connected to social services.


See below for a list of key dates associated with this grant opportunity.

  • June 26, 2024: Hunger Free Kansas Grant Application Opens
  • Aug. 9, 2024: Hunger Free Kansas Grant Application Closes
  • September 2024: Hunger Free Kansas Grantees Announced
  • Oct. 1, 2024: Grant Term Begins
  • December 2026: Grant Term Ends

Review Process

Priority will be given to applicants who describe:

  • Organizational readiness to effectively implement the transformative idea at a regional or statewide level, or that impact geographic areas inside a metropolitan city (population +100,000) where residents live more than a half mile from affordable, nutritious foods.
  • A clear and compelling project design. The project design demonstrates clear understanding of the need and leverages or expands existing infrastructure.
  • Clear alignment with one of the funding categories, including the ability to accomplish multiple objectives within the category.
  • Feasibility of the timeline and justification of the proposed budget. Priority may be considered if additional funds are leveraged because of the project.
  • A compelling vision for learning and innovation accomplished because of project implementation. New learning will be considered success, even if the project fails.
  • If submissions are similar in scope, projects that impact populations experiencing inequities may be given priority.

Kansas Health Foundation will be responsible for the administration of the grant review process and the grant management.  Stakeholders from the Hunger Free Kansas initiative will inform the review process.  For more information, please view the scoring rubric that will be used to determine funding decisions.

Selected grantees must choose a primary point of contact within the organization. The staff member will be required to attend all meetings related to the initiative such as learning community activities, grantee calls to share lessons learned and emerging issues.

How To Apply

To apply, please scroll down on this page and complete the application form. Before you begin completing the form, please note the following:

  • The application cannot be saved once started, so we recommend preparing a word document in advance for offline reference.
  • You will be asked to upload a copy of your IRS determination letter.  Please have it ready prior to entering your application information.
  • Beware of timing out of the form. Once you begin a form submission, the form “times out” after three (3) hours if not submitted.
  • You must have the contact information of a legally authorized signatory (such as a CEO, President, Executive Director, School Principal or School District Superintendent) ready and available.

When the application form is complete, please hit the “Submit” button. You will receive a confirmation after submission.  If you have questions, please contact Lindsay Wilke at

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