Lessons from Collaboration: How One Nonprofit Scaled Up Nutrition Education

By Tina Casey, Triple Pundit 

Corporate charity is branching out from its roots in the traditional gift-giving model. The innovative corporate foundations of today are engaging in transformative, dynamic work with nonprofits to achieve impacts far beyond their initial scope. The collaboration between the Walmart Foundation and the nonprofit organization FoodCorps exemplifies this trend, and it illustrates how companies can lend both their financial firepower and their expertise to help nonprofits scale up their missions.

The FoodCorps nutrition education model
FoodCorps launched in 2010 with the mission of reaching children in school with empowering lessons about healthier eating.

The FoodCorps nutrition program involves the whole school—including teachers, staff and foodservice workers—and often extends to students’ families to create a culture of health. It revolves around hands-on and interactive classroom learning, healthier school meals, school gardens, and lessons that students can apply at home.

The “Corps” part of the program is also a key factor. As an AmeriCorps grant recipient, part of the FoodCorps mission is to support a new generation of emerging leaders. Schools that participate in the FoodCorps program host an AmeriCorps service member, who oversees the program as a school leader, role model and mentor throughout the academic year.

“The program is not just about creating an interest in healthy food,” explains FoodCorps co-founder and CEO Curt Ellis. “It’s really about taking ownership and bringing it home to their families.”