The goal of this project was to examine the impact of Smart Snacks in School standards on fundraising practices in districts and schools in a sample of states that allow and do not allow fundraiser exemptions. This study used a series of interviews with key stakeholders to explore the successes, challenges, and financial aspects of implementing these new policies regarding fundraisers and the ways in which schools may or may not have succeeded in transitioning to non-food fundraising strategies. Participants included state-level child nutrition directors; district-level leadership; district food service directors; school-level leadership; and parents or leaders of local, regional, or state parent-teacher organizations. This report focuses on key themes that emerged through the interviews, including barriers and challenges, and ways of addressing them. Overall, interview results revealed that many schools have improved the school nutrition environment, but this has often come at a financial cost to schools and school districts. The factors that appear to be key to the successful implementation of healthier fundraising practices—whether in states that allow exemptions or in states that do not allow any exemptions—are time, patience, champions, and collaboration across multiple levels.
Research Summary. School Fundraising Policies and Practices: A Shifting Landscape
The goal of this project was to examine the impact of Smart Snacks in School standards on fundraising practices in districts and schools in a sample of states that allow and do not allow fundraiser exemptions. This study used a series of interviews with key stakeholders to explore the successes, … More
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “Smart Snacks in Schools” rule, which updated nutrition standards for competitive foods sold in schools, went into effect July 1, 2014. Under this rule, USDA requires states to establish a maximum number of “infrequent, exempt” fundraisers schools may hold each year that do … More
The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the … More