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Food Security & Nutrition Fund Grant

HealthSpark Foundation

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Grant amount: Up to US $10,000

Anticipated deadline: Oct 27, 2019

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Capital Project

Location of project: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Location of residency: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

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About this funder:

View past grantees & full 990 summary



All Montgomery County residents have access to healthy, nutritious food. 


Strengthen the food safety net and reduce hunger in Montgomery County. 


Montgomery County is among the healthiest and wealthiest regions in the Commonwealth, yet an estimated 10.5% of county residents, and 14.5% of children, have difficulty getting enough food. Food insecurity has serious health consequences such as hypertension, diabetes and depression. 

The foundation’s board has committed a minimum of $600,000 over three years (2014-2016) to this initiative. 

Montgomery County is home to a number of emergency (food pantry, soup kitchen) and supplemental (Meals on Wheels, congregate meal programs) food programs.

Pantry Capacity Grants

A system is only as strong as its components. Food pantries are an integral part of the food safety net and strengthening their capacity benefits the individual organization, their clients and the entire system in the county. 

Capacity building activities are designed to assist an organization to operate more effectively and efficiently, so it can best serve clients and the community. Activities should be completed within six months. 

Applicants may apply for a grant under one of the following categories. 

  • Data collection and evaluation 
  • Physical and/or safety improvements to pantry space
  • Staff and/or board development
  • Strategic/business planning
  • Systems or operating improvements (including technology and accounting systems)
  • Transitioning to a choice pantry model

Organizations awarded a grant under this funding initiative may reapply once the work is completed and a final report is submitted.

Capacity Building Activity Examples 

The following examples are provided to inspire and stimulate thinking and do not represent the full range of possible activities that may be considered. 

  • Succession planning 
  • Strategic communications planning
  • Staff/volunteer training
  • Staff recruitment and retention
  • Volunteer recruitment and management
  • Introduce/update inventory management and reporting systems
  • Volunteer training to engage clients differently
  • Implement a new procurement protocol or system
  • Program planning, design and piloting
  • Create partnerships with other community agencies, farms, schools, etc.
  • Fix leaking pipes or put in new flooring
  • Renovations to make the pantry accessible to those with disabilities
  • Paint or other enchancements to improve pantry appearance and atmosphere

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Organizations must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible to apply for funding: 
    • Applicant must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, as determined by the IRS. (May be waived. Contact staff to discuss.) 
    • Applicant must have been in existence for at least 5 years. (May be waived. Contact staff to discuss.)
    • Grant applicant must have a physical service location in Montgomery County.
    • Services provided by applicant must address the food security needs of community residents.
    • The majority of grant-supported services must benefit vulnerable populations (as defined by applicant).
    • Applicant must demonstrate an understanding of the food security needs and the existing services in Montgomery County and how systems work to address those needs.
  • Pantry Capacity Grants: 
    • The foundation invites food pantries located in Montgomery County to apply for a grant to build their infrastructure. 
    • For the pantry capacity grants, a food pantry must have a computer and use it to support the management of the pantry.
      • If it does not have a computer, the pantry can apply for a grant to purchase such equipment.
      • The pantry must also have a plan for how the equipment will be used to manage the pantry.
      • A computer system must be in place before applying for other projects through this grant program.
  • Applicant’s board must support engaging in system change work OR be able to develop a plan that positions the organization to engage in systems change work.


  • What these grants will not fund
    • Purchase of food and commodities 
    • Purchase of shelving, freezers or other cold storage units (with the exception of a request related to moving to a choice model, provided such items are part of a larger transition plan)
    • Operational expenses including salaries, rent and utilities
  • What the Foundation does not support:
    • Individuals or for-profit organizations, firms or companies 
    • Disease-specific charities
    • Endowments
    • Debt reduction
    • Clinical or academic research
    • Publications unless such publications are relevant to at least one of the foundation’s four targeted funds
    • Student projects
    • Athletic recreational clubs or alumni activities
    • Replacement of lost government-funds or supplementation of private/public insurance
    • Religious congregations (May be waived. Contact staff to discuss.)
    • Fraternal, political or civic groups
  • The foundation also does not accept requests for annual support, events or other general solicitation.