The Community Food Rescue Mini-Grants Program is back

Montgomery County Community Food Rescue Mini-Grants Program Application Guidelines

The Community Food Rescue Mini-Grants Program is back, with support from Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, the Mead Family Foundation, and Burness!  There are opportunities to receive grants for improving capacity and infrastructure of the local food recovery system, as well as for inventive and collaborative approaches in food recovery. The Mini-Grants process will be managed again this year by Intentional Philanthropy and Manna Food Center, with the generous support of the Mead Family Foundation. Applications can be requested from and are due by Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

Every year in Montgomery County, Maryland…

  • 246,000 tons (23%) of the County’s solid waste is food waste. (Mo. Co. Waste Composition Study, July 26, 2013)
  • 78,000 + (8%) of County residents do not always know where their next meal will come from. (Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study)
  • 35% of children in Montgomery County public schools qualify for free or reduced meals. (MCPS)

This Mini-Grants Program will amplify efforts underway by Community Food Rescue (CFR), a network coordinated by Manna Food Center to develop a food recovery system throughout Montgomery County, Maryland. Please become familiar with the goals and approaches of CFR by visiting  This network enhances the good work of businesses, agencies, and organizations that already recover perfectly good food before it is thrown away by building capacity through grants, training and other resources.

We also are working to bring new donors and recipients into the system and engage the entire community in our effort to “feed more waste less.”  To achieve collective impact, CFR’s priority is to reduce food that is being wasted and redirect it to food assistance agencies that serve those experiencing hunger.  We are also working to increase the amount of inedible food recovered for feeding animals and composting.

Funding Criteria:

The Mini-Grants Program will focus on building the capacity and infrastructure for food recovery and will also prioritize supporting effective partnerships or collaborations. You may only submit one grant application per organization (including different branches, divisions, locations and/or units of the same organization). The range of each grant is from $500 – $20,000. The Mini-Grant Program is looking to fund projects that:

Increase the capacity and infrastructure for food recovery: it must be clear how the purchase or expense relates to food recovery. While you should not be limited by examples from last year, previous grants enabled organizations to improve transportation or storage systems through purchases of goods and services such as trucks, freezers, and staff training.

  1. Are inventive, collaborative approaches to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of food recovery and reducing food insecurity in the County: it must be clear how the grant support will enhance or enable effective partnerships and collaborations.
  2. Organizations collaborating in a unique way may submit applications in tandem. Please note these are one-time awards and must demonstrate desired effect to the food recovery network within the grant period.

 Eligibility Requirements:

Grants will be provided to organizations involved in food recovery within Montgomery County.  It must be very clear how the proposal will start, advance, or enhance food recovery for the community, not just one organization.

  • Any 501(C)3 organization, institution or association that provides services or activities within Montgomery County is eligible to apply. Grants will be awarded for projects in Montgomery County only. Organization headquarters can be outside of Montgomery County as long as the organization demonstrates that the activities and services supported by grant funds benefit Montgomery County residents.
  • Funds may be delayed if there are additional requirements post-application such as a HACPP plan for food safety or proof of Food Service Manager Certification.
  • The program will not fund:

o   Projects that have an existing deficit from a previous year or a previous project.

o   Organizations that received previous awards, and did not comply with the terms of the award, including submission of project reports and/or participation in a monitoring visit.

o   Replacement of lost and/or reduced Federal, State, United Way or other funding.

o   Organizations that have an outstanding contractual obligation with the Department and/or the County.

 Grant Decision and Funding Period:

All applications (due by Tuesday, March 1, 2016) will be subject to an initial review, including completeness and clarity; compliance with applicable guidelines, including the one-time only nature of the project; and fiscal accuracy. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

A panel consisting of both public and private entities will then review applications for their effect in creating, advancing and/or enhancing food recovery or a food recovery system within Montgomery County.  Applications will be evaluated based on their level of impact, ability to complete the desired outcomes and the ratio of investment to impact.  Applicants that demonstrate coordination, collaboration and/or leveraging of other resources will be more competitive.

Grant recipients will be notified by June 1, 2016 and grant awards will be dispersed by June 30, 2016. All grant funds must be utilized no later than June 30, 2017.

Grant Conditions:

  • Grant awardees will be expected to join and participate in the Food Recovery Working Group organized by the Montgomery County Food Council, which advises the Community Food Rescue network.  Participation includes sharing indicators of success and utilizing the technology adapted by the CFR system (ex. Using software for matching and tracking the rescue and use of food items).
  • Grant awardees will be required to submit a brief summary in the fall of 2016 highlighting successes and lessons learned to enable shared learning among the working group and promote accountability.
  • Submission of grant success stories, photos and content for newsletter articles will be required to help strengthen the collective effort of the working group as a whole.
  • Awardees will be required to use CFR materials in their marketing and outreach, including but not limited to the CFR logo and tag-line.
  • Any equipment purchased using the grants will display a sticker or magnet or other device with wording such as “This freezer was purchased with the support of Montgomery County’s Community Food Rescue.”

Questions? Ready to apply? Please contact Intentional Philanthropy at (301) 761-4433, or email Astoria Aviles at

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