Making the Most of Child Nutrition Funding:
A Guide for After School Education and Safety Grantees


After School Funding
Summer Funding
Reimbursement Rates
Meeting the Match Requirements
Working with School Food Departments
Nutrition Standards
Nutrition Resources
Model Programs



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This guide aims to help After School Education and Safety (ASES) program grantees obtain the maximum amount of federal nutrition funds. It explains the basics of the child nutrition programs, offers suggestions on which nutrition programs make the most sense in which circumstances, and provides tips on how to operate the nutrition programs successfully. The federal child nutrition programs afford an important opportunity because they will pay for the nutritious snacks that all grantees are required to provide. Moreover, the federal nutrition funds can be used as matching funds for ASES grants.

The Importance of Nutrition in ASES Programs

By the time children arrive at their after school program, lunch is a distant memory. Their growing bodies need food just to get through the afternoon. Without it, they feel run down, their attention span shortens, their ability to learn diminishes, and they have difficulty fully participating in after school activities.

A nutritious snack or meal also helps improve the overall quality of the programming in several ways.

  • The food acts as a magnet attracting more hungry children to the program, especially middle school or junior high students who often have a say in whether or not they attend. Many providers say it is the food that gets children through the door in the first place!
  • The food allows the program to leverage the federal dollars available from the child nutrition programs. These federal nutrition dollars contribute significantly to the ASES Program matching requirement. The snack funding can add up to $122 per child per year, and the supper funding can add up to $444 per child per year. The child nutrition programs also help guarantee the program's financial sustainability by diversifying its funding streams.
  • The food reinforces nutrition education and health messages by putting them into practice. For example, the child nutrition programs offer the opportunity to introduce children to new fresh fruits and vegetables. This is especially important in today's environment in California, where twenty-nine percent of children ages 6-17 are obese or overweight.
  • The food helps support the schools efforts to develop a healthy environment in which only nutritious foods are available to students. In addition, school districts can use their school wellness policies to focus on after school programs by including goals for nutrition quality, physical activity, and other wellness promoting activities that are offered by the after school program. (All school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program are required to have a school wellness policy.)

The federal child nutrition programs, which already feed nearly 1.4 million children after school, cover the cost of providing after school snacks and, in some cases, meals. All ASES grantees are eligible to receive funding through one or more of the nutrition programs, and the funding is based on the number of children served.

Click on the tabs on the left side for an overview of the nutrition funding available.

This guide was prepared by the Food Research and Action Center with support from the Finance Project.

Founded in 1970, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is a nonprofit organization which works to improve public-private partnerships and the reach of publicly-funded nutrition programs, in schools and non-profits, in order to eradicate hunger and improve nutrition for low-income people in the United States. FRAC is the primary national training, technical assistance, information dissemination, leadership development, capacity-building and public education center for anti-hunger groups and others around the country working to expand use of the principal federal nutrition programs - including school lunch and breakfast, the Summer Food Service Program and afterschool food programs, food stamps, WIC, and the food program for preschoolers in child care. These programs serve tens of millions of Americans every day.

The Finance Project is an independent nonprofit research, consulting, technical assistance, and training firm for public- and private-sector leaders nationwide. It specializes in helping leaders plan and implement financing and sustainability strategies for initiatives that benefit children, families, and communities. Through a broad array of tools, products, and services, The Finance Project helps leaders make smart investment decisions, develop sound financing strategies, and build solid partnerships. To learn more, visit

The Finance Project and the Food Research and Action Center have developed a series of new resources to help California leaders access funding to support and sustain afterschool programs. Other guides in the series include:


FRAC extends sincere thanks to those who have given us guidance and insightful feedback on Making the Most of Child Nutrition Funding: A Guide for After School Safety and Education Grantees, with special appreciation to Nancy Gelbard with the California Department of Education After School Programs Office; Barbara Longo, Ronna Jakobitz, and Louise Casias with the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Divisions; Cheryl Rodgers with the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund; Deanna Niebuhr and Katie Brackenridge with the Bay Area Partnership for Children and Youth; Kathy B. Lewis and Andrea Fletcher, Ph.D. with the Center for Collaborative Solutions; Arnell Hinkle with the California Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness Program; Nadene Haynes with the Yuba City Unified School District; Ana Campos with the After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles; Matt Sharp with the California Food Policy Advocates; Kim Wade with the California Association of Food Banks; Timothy Thole with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Region; and Steve Fowler with Fowler Hoffman, LLC.

FRAC gratefully acknowledges the funders who supported the development of the guide: the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Koret Foundation.