Healthy Food Access Request for Proposal
in Athens County

Since 1999, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville (the Foundation) has invested over $1.6 million in southeastern Ohio to reduce the prevalence of obesity through grantmaking investments that have advanced planning, built capacity and supported sustainable programmatic and capital improvements, primarily within school settings and the Southeast Ohio Regional Food Center. While local efforts have demonstrated success, the Foundation has determined there are additional opportunities to advance innovative and sustainable approaches to the food system that can measurably increase the availability, affordability and consumption of healthy foods among low-income, vulnerable populations through a Healthy Food Access Request for Proposals. 

The Need and Local Opportunity
Food insecurity, hunger and obesity can co-exist in the same individual, family and community, especially among low-income, vulnerable populations. According to studies commissioned by the Census Bureau and US Department of Agriculture, hunger and food insecurity affect more than 30 million people each year; furthermore low-income households are more likely than others to suffer from hunger and food insecurity largely because they have fewer resources to buy food. Food insecurity occurs when the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food is limited or uncertain. Additionally, 33% percent of all children and 66% of all adults are considered overweight or obese in the United States.

The high rates of food insecurity, poverty and obesity in Athens County, Ohio present a unique opportunity to improve the food system, align resources and coordinate efforts that can result in greater access to healthy foods for low-income, vulnerable populations. In 2011, 19.3% of all Athens County residents were food insecure, 26% of children lived in poverty and 32% of the adults and 21% of children were considered obese.

Addressing issues related to food insecurity, hunger and obesity in southeastern Ohio is complicated, and requires concerted effort among those impacting the food system, including the private sector, non-profit providers, government, philanthropy, and the community at-large. In Athens County, there are a number of efforts underway, including those of the Athens County Council Food Policy Council, to increase access to healthy foods at community-based organizations that serve low-income populations by creating a sustainable food system through market driven solutions. Community-based organizations include, but are not limited to, schools, child care settings, food banks and/or pantries, senior and community centers, and other venues that provide services to low-income, vulnerable populations.

Through the Healthy Food Access Request for Proposal (RFP), the Foundation will support innovative and sustainable efforts that measurably increase access to healthy foods and, over time, will decrease hunger and food insecurity for low-income, vulnerable populations in Athens County, Ohio.

Funding Availability
The Foundation will allocate up to $350,000 over three (3) years for a select number of efforts that can achieve and sustain, over the funding period, the funding outcome.

Funding Outcome
Through the Healthy Food Access RFP the Foundation seeks to increase the availability, affordability and consumption of healthy foods among low-income, vulnerable populations in Athens County by supporting innovative, coordinated and sustainable improvements within the food system.

Definitions for this RFP:

Availability refers to an individual’s ability to obtain healthy food from community-based organizations; 

Affordability refers to the cost of food and an individual’s ability to pay for it;

Consumption refers to an individual’s ability to consume healthy foods on a regular basis. 

Food systems consider the integration of environmental, economic, social and health factors with the suppliers, producers, processors, aggregators, distributors, buyers, consumers and the safety net to increase access to healthy foods. Coordination within the food systems can eliminate barriers along the supply chain that make it difficult for community-based organizations to secure and distribute healthy foods to low-income, vulnerable populations.

Eligible Applicants
Applications will be accepted from non-profit organizations with a 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS; can demonstrate they are not supporting organizations as defined by the Pension Protection Act of 2006; and are located in or are serving low-income, vulnerable Athens County residents. Collaborative projects are encouraged.

Funding Exclusions
Through the Healthy Food Access RFP, the Foundation will not consider:

  1. More than one application per organization as the fiscal agent,
  2. Unsustainable personnel or operational expenses,
  3. Indirect costs or endowment support,
  4. Planning grants, and
  5. Projects or programs that support or promote a specific view on religious issues; support or promote specific points of view on right-to-life and pro-choice issues; are designated to supplement or replace operating deficits; are normally the responsibility of public or governmental organizations; support political candidates; provide for the acquisition of equipment or funding of services from which individuals or organizations will unreasonably benefit through fees-for-service or tuition payments; or require perpetual funding.

Successful Proposals
Through this Request for Proposal process, successful proposals will be prioritized on the ability to demonstrate the following:

  1. Documented unmet needs among individuals and families that experience high levels of food insecurity.
  2. A well-defined business plan for the funding period that delineates implementation strategies with clear and measureable goals and objectives, achieves the aforementioned funding outcome, and can be sustained beyond the funding period. Programmatic support will only be considered in the context of sustainable food system improvements.
  3. The ability to leverage state and/or federal resources during the funding period to further enhance food system improvements.
  4. Collaboration among multiple private and public sector organizations that can add value and contribute to sustainability.
  5. Community-based planning that builds upon current efforts in Athens County, avoids duplication, effectively uses resources, and achieves measurable success.
  6. Readiness to implement and sustain a multi-year implementation effort.
  7. Use of evidence-based models and approaches that support proposed comprehensive community food system strategies to increase the availability, affordability and consumption of healthy foods among low-income, vulnerable populations.
  8. A history of commitment to and direct involvement with food security projects that serve low-income, vulnerable populations.  The primary target population for this RFP is low-income, vulnerable Athens County residents, although projects may have regional impact.
  9. The ability to match at least 20% of the overall budget from other sources that may include direct match and/or in-kind contributions.

Request for Proposal Process
To achieve the funding outcome, the Foundation will utilize a Request for Proposal process, which will include a Letter of Intent and Full Proposal application. Interested applicants must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) through the Foundation’s online grantmaking system which can be found here. Please review the instructions to completing the online form here before accessing the system. Following review of the LOIs, selected organizations will be invited to submit Full Proposal applications. Organizations invited to submit Full Proposal applications will be required to attend a technical assistance session on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Nelsonville, Ohio (Location TBD). Content experts may be engaged by the Foundation to evaluate proposals. Each proposal will be considered in light of project scope and feasibility, measurable impact on the population(s) served, organizational support and sustainability. During the review process, the Foundation may make site visits to obtain additional information and/or clarification.

The following attachments are required for the Letter of Intent process:

  1. IRS letter and signed W-9 of Fiscal Agent
  2. List of Board of Directors of Fiscal Agent
  3. Most recent audited financials of Fiscal Agent
  4. Current fiscal year operating budget of Fiscal Agent
  5. Letter of Intent budget request

The following attachments are required for the Full Proposal process:

  1. Letter of Commitment from the Board of Directors and Chief Executive of the Fiscal Agent
  2. Full Proposal Budget Request and Budget Narrative
  3. Executed Memorandums of Agreement(s) with Partners
  4. Business Plan for 2013-2016 including planned accomplishments and outcomes

Successful applicants will be required to attend annual convenings throughout the funding period to provide updates and share learnings with the Foundation.


February 11, 2013
March 11, 2013
March 22, 2013
March 28, 2013
April 8, 2013
May 6, 2013
June 2013
July 2013
Letter of Intent Request for Proposal released
Letters of Intent due through the Foundation’s online grantmaking system
Invitations to submit full proposals released
Mandatory Technical assistance session
Full Proposal drafts due to the Foundation
Full Proposals due through the Foundation’s online grantmaking system
Funding award notification
Funding Period begins

Click here to download a PDF version of this RFP and click here to re-access an application that is already in process.

Kerry Shaw
Program Officer
(614) 737-4368
Osteopathic Heritage Foundations
1500 Lake Shore Drive, Suite 230
Columbus, Ohio 43204