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USDA Seeks Applications for $16.8 Million in Grants to Empower SNAP Participants to Make Healthy Eating Choices - DTA urges Massachusetts CBOs to Apply!

Please see email from Frank Martinez Nocito re second round of FINI grants announced by USDA. If your organization is interested in applying, please contact Frank at DTA directly.


  • Statewide Food for Good Conference at UMass Amherst on Friday, October 30th!
  • Central MA SNAP Coalition meeting, Thursday, October 22nd.
  • Boston SNAP Coalition meeting, Tuesday, October 27th. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Frank Martinez Nocito

Dear Colleagues,

This morning, USDA announced the second round of funding to be provided under the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program, created by the 2014 Farm Bill. As with the first round of funding, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will administer the grants. Note that the amount is just over half ($16.8 million) of what was available last year, and there is a slightly shorter application period with applications due on December 16, 2015. Please see the below link for details and the new RFA.

Applications may only be submitted by government agencies and non-profit organizations. All FINI projects must: (1) have the support of the State agency responsible for the administration of SNAP (i.e., DTA); (2) increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers participating in SNAP by providing incentives at the point of purchase; (3) operate through authorized SNAP retailers, and in compliance with all relevant SNAP regulations and operating requirements; (4) agree to participate in the FINI comprehensive program evaluation; (5) ensure that the same terms and conditions apply to purchases made by individuals with SNAP benefits and with incentives under the FINI grants program as apply to purchases made by individuals who are not members of households receiving benefits as provided in 7 CFR. 278.2(b); and (6) include effective and efficient technologies for benefit redemption systems that may be replicated in other States and communities.

Please let me know ASAP If your organization intends to submit an application for the second round of FINI funding so that we can provide the necessary support for your application. Note, this application process is an arduous one, and it is highly recommended that you review the RFA thoroughly (and soonest) before making the decision to apply. At this time, DTA is not intending to submit another FINI application. Good luck!

Let me know if you have any questions.

With best regards,


Frank Martinez Nocito, Assistant Director, SNAP Nutrition Education

MA Department of Transitional Assistance

310 State Street, Springfield, MA 01105




From: USDA Office of Communications []
Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2015 9:59 AM
Subject: USDA Seeks Applications for $16.8 Million in Grants to Empower SNAP Participants to Make Healthy Eating Choices


Release No. 0276.15


David Glasgow (202) 690-0548

USDA Seeks Applications for $16.8 Million in Grants to Empower SNAP Participants to Make Healthy Eating Choices

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2015 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of up to $16.8 million in funding to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The funding is available to local, state and national organizations to test incentive strategies to help SNAP participants better afford healthy foods. This is the second round of awards to be made under the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program created by the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will administer the grants.

"Eating healthy foods makes a difference to an entire family's health and ability to learn, work and enjoy life," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These investments are moving the dial for families in need and expanding the market for America's fruit and vegetable producers. The FINI program scales up public-private collaboration to develop innovative strategies that make healthy fruits and vegetables more accessible to families around the country, part of our strategy to improve the diet and health of all Americans."

FINI connects stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system and fosters partnerships to improve the nutrition and health status of lower-income households. These resources will allow partnerships like these to help even more families.

Funded projects will test community based strategies that contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants through incentives at the point of purchase, supported by efficient benefit redemption technologies, that inform future efforts.

Applications are due December 16, 2015. NIFA will host a webinar for applicants on October 14, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., EDT at [Editor's Note: Link is no longer active]

Applications are sought in three categories: (1) FINI pilot projects (awards not to exceed $100,000 in one year); (2) multi-year, community-based FINI projects (awards not to exceed $500,000 over no more than four years); and (3) multi-year, FINI large-scale projects (awards of $500,000 or more over no more than four years).

Priority is given to projects that:

  • Maximize the share of funds used for direct incentives to participants
  • Provide incentives that are most likely to directly and efficiently increase the purchase and consumption of eligible fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants
  • Test innovative or promising strategies that would contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants and inform future efforts
  • Improve or develop innovative benefit redemption systems that can be replicated or scaled
  • Use direct-to-consumer marketing
  • Demonstrate a track record of designing and implementing successful nutrition incentive programs that connect low-income consumers and agricultural producers
  • Provide locally- or regionally-produced fruits and vegetables, especially culturally-appropriate fruits and vegetables for a target group of consumers
  • Are located in underserved communities, particularly Promise Zones and StrikeForce communities
  • FINI is a joint effort between NIFA and USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAP and has responsibility for evaluating the impacts of the incentive projects.

Funding for the FINI program is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

SNAP -€”the nation's first line of defense against hunger - ”helps put food on the table for millions of families experiencing hardship. The program has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children, and 42 percent of participants live in households in which at least one adult is working but still cannot afford to put food on the table. SNAP benefits provided critical assistance to millions who lost their jobs during the Great Recession. For many, SNAP benefits provide temporary assistance, with the average new applicant remaining on the program 12 months.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit or follow us on Twitter @usda_nifa, #NIFAImpacts.