Header Image

Food Pantry Assistance Grant


For Coloradans experiencing hunger, our statewide network of food banks and food pantries provides an access point for emergency food resources. Over the last three years, pantries across the state have been collecting feedback from clients. The surveys have consistently found that there was a mismatch between what foods are available and foods customers want and need to maintain a healthy, balanced diet; specifically PROTEIN, FRESH PRODUCE AND DAIRY.

With that feedback in mind, The Food Pantry Assistance Grant is a product of Hunger Free Colorado’s efforts to increase access to healthy foods for all Coloradans. During the 2018 Legislative Session, Hunger Free Colorado worked with the Joint Budget Committee to secure funding in the state budget to be used for the purchase of Colorado Proud products. Because of the benefit to not only visitors of food pantries and banks, but also farmers and Colorado’s local economy, the funding was strongly supported. Onward! is honored to have been chosen as the fiscal agent for the Food Pantry Assistance Grant. We are grateful to Hunger Free Colorado, the Colorado Department of Human Services, and our state’s elected officials for the work being done to address hunger in Colorado.

At the 2019 Legislative Session, the Joint Budget committee allocated dollars to the Food Pantry Assistance Grant again. However, funding for the 2019-2020 budget year was greatly reduced so the amounts awarded will be reduced this fiscal year. As we continue to show great need, Hunger Free Colorado and the Food Pantry Network will continue to work diligently to increase funding in future years.

To bring this grant benefit full circle, Hunger Free Colorado looked at Colorado's vibrant agricultural sector with a strong system for identifying foods grown, processed, and packaged here in Colorado through the "Colorado Proud" program (run by the Colorado Department of Agriculture). With Colorado farmers, ranchers and food businesses in search of new markets and food pantries and banks in search of high-quality, fresh protein, dairy, and produce for their clients the FOOD PANTRY ASSISTANCE GRANT is a new tool to support producers, consumers, food banks and pantries alike.


Entities eligible for Food Pantry Assistance Grants are food pantries and food banks located in the state of Colorado (see below for definitions). By statute, the maximum grant amount is $10,000 and the minimum is $1,000. Food pantries may submit a joint application for funds. Excluded from eligibility are soup kitchens, backpack programs, food rescue organizations, etc.


Food Pantry Assistance Grants may be used only for the purchase of Colorado Proud products. The Colorado Department of Agriculture runs the Colorado Proud program and has a variety of tools available for identifying sources of Colorado Proud products. Visit their website for more information: CO Dept of Ag Colorado Proud. 10% of the funded amount may be used for indirect costs associated with the purchase of Colorado grown foods including, but not limited to, transportation, refrigeration, and storage.

How To Apply:

Complete the ONLINE Food Pantry Assistance Grant application (link below) and submit to Onward! A Legacy Foundation. Applications must be received prior to the deadline.

If you have not received an email confirmation within two (2) business days of submitting your application electronically, please contact the Onward! A Legacy Foundation office directly. You will receive an email upon submission with your full application. Please hold on to this email until confirmation is received from Nicci Crowley (grants administrator).

Grant Application

The 2020 Fiscal Year End Application Cycle is now closed.

Final report is due JUNE 12.



Program Cycle 2019-2020

July 29
Cycle Opens

August 23
5 PM
Cycle Closes

September 13
Grant Review Committee makes final grant award recommendation

September 18
Grantees notified and funds distributed

February 15
Progress Report due to Onward!

June 12
Final Funds Report due to Onward!

Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on important information regarding the FOOD PANTRY ASSISTANCE GRANT.

Important Definitions

Food Bank: Food Bank means a charitable organization exempt from federal income taxation under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that annually distributes more than ten (10) million pounds of food and non-food essentials to hunger relief programs. (CO Crop Donation Act, HB 14-119)

Food Pantry: A food pantry is an individual site that buys food and/or receives donations of foods that are then directly distributed to those in their community

Colorado Proud: Colorado Proud is a program of the Colorado Department of Agriculture that promotes food and agricultural products that are grown, raised, or processed in Colorado. Manufactured food products must be made in a commercial kitchen in order to qualify. Find more information about Colorado Proud at their website: www.coloradoproud.org. Food banks and food pantries can develop a free online profile at www.comarketmaker.com. The 2018 Colorado Proud directory is available HERE.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the money received have to be spent by May 31st? Because the funding for this grant comes from the State of Colorado, (Onward! administers the grant) all funding has to be spent during each fiscal year. Any money not spent during that time, per state guidelines, has to be returned. This does make it a challenge with the state's fiscal year ending right as growing season is ramping up. Do take this into consideration as you consider applying.

Who is NOT eligible? To be clear, the definition of a hunger relief organization is broader than the statutory language creating Food Pantry Assistance Grants, for which solely food pantries and food banks are eligible.  Hunger Relief Organizations are not eligible for this grant.

I am a food pantry and get food from a food bank. Should I still apply? Absolutely! The goal of the funding is to get as much protein, produce, and dairy in the hands and homes of as many clients as possible.

Do I need to spend all the funds before the final funds report is submitted? Yes. While it is a short timeframe, due to state budgeting requirements, all the money will need to be spent or returned.

What if I cannot fill out the entire application? An incomplete application will not be considered. Therefore, provide adequate explanation for any piece of the application that you cannot fill out so that the grant committee can understand your specific situation and why you did not fill out the section. “Not applicable” is not adequate.

Can I apply for more than one grant? Only one grant per organization or effort will be considered each legislative budget year. If your application is not funded in the first cycle, your application will be held over for the second cycle and you will not need to submit a new application.

Will I need to submit a final report? Yes. A final report will be due at the end of the grant funding cycle. Dates will be set as each cycle begins.