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Seed Grant

Grants to New York City Nonprofits for Nutrition and
Emergency Food Programs for Low-income Residents

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Food Bank for New York City and United Way of New York City (UWNYC)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:



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Grants of up to $25,000 to New York City nonprofit organizations for activities that address the nutrition and emergency food needs of low-income residents, including those arising from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Funding is intended to support programs and projects that include organizational improvements, outreach, wellness, and nutrition education.

For the 2021 Seed Grant program year, non-profit organizations are invited to submit projects that provide organizations with the ability to develop or improve upon innovative ways of confronting emergency food and/or nutrition needs of low-income individuals. 

Seed grant projects that focus on community healthy food access challenges exacerbated during the Covid-19 coronavirus public health and financial crisis and/or address existing persistent need(s) within the emergency food network will be prioritized. Projects contributing to increased capacity for emergency food programs (EFPs) to respond to increased service levels and demonstrate ability to be replicable, sustainable, and relevant beyond the current crisis are preferred.

These projects may include outreach and benefits access related services wellness programs, organizational enhancements, as well as nutrition education, but do not include establishing new pantries and soup kitchens or purchasing food for existing providers. Projects should meet one or more of the following criteria:

  •  Increase or enhance emergency food resources or create a diversified resource base through community partnerships
  •  Increase organizational capacity and effectiveness to provide emergency food services and access to healthy foods.
  •  Link emergency food providers and their guests to services that could reduce dependence on emergency food. 

Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to: 

  • Linking EFPs to resources that increase the number of volunteers serving the emergency food network now due to increased number of visitors, such as projects that increase providers capability to form partnerships and linkages to support consistent connections to volunteers.
  • ie. willing neighborhood groups, emerging crowd source volunteer connection platforms, community and faith-based organizations, and other volunteer services etc.
  • ie. Mobilizing a call center to manage requests for home delivery requests by a volunteer workforce of drivers delivery groceries in their neighborhood.
  • Ie. Creating Building Drop Offs with local tenants associations to provide meals to seniors 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 164377

Estimated Size of Grant:

Selected projects may receive up to $25,000.

Term of Contract:

- Project implementation timeline can be determined by applicant and can extend through a total of one year from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022.
- Project Deliverables may be met through March 31, 2022 or as approved by funder.
- 50 % of awarded grant funds must be spent by June 30, 2021.
- 100% of awarded grant funds must be spent by December 31, 2021.

Seed Grants are one-time, non-renewable awards.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Seed Grant Eligibility:
- Applicant is a community-based organization located in New York City that works with a low-income, homeless, and/or food-insecure population.
- Applicant is a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status with adequate facilities and resources to sustain the proposed project after the one-year grant.
- Organizations that hold a direct contract with HPNAP (ie. Food Pantries, Soup Kitchens, Food Recovery Operations, and Special Nutrition Initiatives) are eligible to apply for Seed Grant funding if the funding requested is to support a new project not already receiving HPNAP funds.
- Must maintain an organization bank account and can provide proof upon request. Personal accounts are not eligible.

Special Eligibility Requirements for urban farming projects:
- Own or lease the proposed land/rooftop space or provide documentation to support its right to use the land/rooftop space indefinitely.
- Have at least 1,000 square feet of land or rooftop space dedicated for this project.
- Provide a letter from a structural engineer verifying feasibility of project, if applying for a rooftop farm.

Applicants may use a Fiscal Conduit.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Food Bank and United Way will be hosting an optional Seed Grant Application Workshop via Zoom on Thursday, January 21st from 11am to 12pm (workshop will also be recorded and made available to the network).

For more information and to register:

Pre-Application Information:

All Materials must be submitted online by February 6th, 2021.

Multiple applications (i.e. two applications in two distinct categories) will not be considered – one application per organization.

Seed Grants are ONE-TIME, NON-RENEWABLE awards. Organizations can apply for Seed Grant funding annually if the project description is unique (ie. different site, different service or target population, or different service plan from a past Seed Grant project.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For more information, and to apply online:

Food Bank For New York City

United Way of New York City

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York

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