Equipment Assistance Grants for School Nutrition Programs
Virginia was allocated a one-time appropriation of $1,871,114 to distribute among school divisions participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) who competitively applied for the ARRA equipment assistance grant funds. VDOE received applications for over $11 million of equipment from 103 school divisions representing more than 450 school sites. Grants were awarded to 23 school divisions.
The goals of this grant are to improve the program infrastructure and to provide an economic stimulus. Funds awarded must be obligated and/or spent by September 30, 2009.
Any funds not obligated by September 30, 2009, will be recovered by VDOE and returned to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In June 2009, VDOE awarded Equipment Assistance grants to 23 school divisions. The links below provide guidance and resources for grantees. Each school division awarded funds received a Notification of Grant form listing the grant amount for the school division, along with a breakdown of the approved amount for each school site(s), and a specific grant award number. The grant award number is required on the Request for Grant Reimbursement form.
- Grant Recipients and Funding Amounts (PDF)
- VDOE guidance on use of funds, terms and conditions, procurement, reimbursement and reporting.
- Request for Grant Reimbursement (XLS)
- ARRA requires recipients of stimulus funds to register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. The federal government has adopted the Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) to track how ARRA funds are allocated. More about CCR and DUNS.
The application deadline for this grant was May 11, 2009. VDOE awarded Equipment Assistance grants to 23 school divisions.
Equipment focus areas
There are four areas of focus for equipment requests.
- Focus 1: Equipment that improves the quality of school nutrition meals in ways that support the dietary guidelines (e.g., purchasing an equipment alternative to a deep fryer).
- Focus 2: Equipment that improves the safety of food served in the school nutrition programs (e.g., cold/hot holding equipment, dishwashing equipment, refrigeration, milk coolers, freezers, blast chillers, etc.).
- Focus 3: Equipment that improves the overall energy efficiency of the school nutrition operations (e.g., purchase of an energy-efficient walk-in freezer replacing an outdated, energy-demanding freezer).
- Focus 4: Equipment that supports expanded participation in school nutrition programs (e.g., equipment for serving meals in a nontraditional setting or to better utilize cafeteria space).
Definition & Uses of Equipment Assistance Funds
School divisions that participate in the National School Lunch Program were eligible to apply for the grant by the May 11, 2009, deadline, and are required to have the ability to obligate and/or spend the money within three months of receipt and no later than September 30, 2009.
- Distribution of funds to school divisions was determined through a competitive process. The USDA guidance focused on competitive rating criteria applied to the site applications.
- All applications were evaluated on the objectives and criteria that were communicated in the grant announcement.
- The individual school applications were ranked according to their score. Awards were based on the score for a specific school. The score was determined for the school and not for each piece of equipment.
- The highest scoring schools were selected and awarded a grant for the equipment requested up to the maximum amount allocated to Virginia.
Resources & Assistance
- Equipment Purchasing and Facility Design for School Nutrition Programs (PDF), published by the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) 2009 includes information on purchasing equipment for school nutrition programs.
- The School Nutrition Association's Website has links to several equipment related Websites.
- The School Nutrition Programs (SNP) specialists assigned by region may provide additional assistance.
- Webinar April 15: Equipment Solutions: Plug Into Profitability hosted by the School Nutrition Association (SNA).
- Application Packet (XLS)
- Equipment Assistance Grant Questions & Answers - issue 1 (PDF) - USDA
- Equipment Assistance Grant Questions & Answers - issue 2 (PDF) - USDA