Also by Reinvestment Fund

Child Nutrition Fund

New Jersey Child Nutrition Fund (NJCNF) offers resources to organizations working to expand the availability of fresh and nutritious food to children across the state of New Jersey. The program focuses on building the infrastructure for organizations to provide meals through federal nutrition programs, supporting the families they serve and helping to combat the impact of COVID-19 on hunger in New Jersey.  

Federal child nutrition programs offer key resources for states and organizations to address child food insecurity, yet New Jersey and other states access only a portion of available funding each year. NJCNF came out of research in 2018 by Reinvestment Fund and Advocates for Children of New Jersey recognizing the challenges of participating in federal child nutrition programs, and the need to invest in the organizations participating in these programs.  

The program is administered by Reinvestment Fund in partnership with Hunger Free New Jersey and supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 


Priority Communities and Available Supports

Many community providers come together to make sure that all children have access to healthy, nutritious meals in their homes and communities throughout each day, week and year. This network of stakeholders includes childcare providers, after-school programs and community centers, school administrators, food pantries and food banks, city officials, community and faith leaders, and more. Organizations can participate in federal child nutrition program such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and/or the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), along with other federal nutrition programs and other strategies to make sure that children have access to healthy meals beyond traditional school hours.   

With the 2021 funding round, NJCNF is taking a place-based approach that will take a deeper dive into specific communities in New Jersey to strengthen partnerships, identify opportunities to fill gaps in child food access, and seed innovative collaborations 

NJCNF will focus on supporting access to healthy meals for children within the following communities: 

  • Atlantic County: Atlantic City, Hamilton  
  • Bergen County: Entire County 
  • Ocean County: Toms River 
  • Salem County: Entire County  
  • Warren County: Phillipsburg

NJCNF will support child nutrition in each of these communities through 

  • Partnership and capacity building The program’s place-based approach is implemented in partnership with Hunger Free New Jersey (HFNJ). HFNJ will coordinate meetings with key stakeholders to inform food access data collection, recruit new CACFP/SFSP program participants, expand existing programs and sites, and create sustainable partnerships and strategies to fill gaps. Organizations will be encouraged to share resources and best-practices and to develop comprehensive strategies to implement, collaborate, and cross-promote programs community-wide. Organizations can reach out to to get connected.  
  • Food accessibility report: For each selected community, an analysis of food accessibility will be developed including type of food and meals available, availability by time of year, time of day, and by specific geography and demographics. Informed by local partners, the report aims to be a tool for local leaders and stakeholders to identify opportunities to improve availability of staple and perishable food and meal programs. 
  • Equipment grantsTo support existing and expanded programs and to facilitate partnerships, small equipment grants of up to $5,000 will be available for organizations participating in CACFP or Summer Meals to focus on providing meals for children outside of traditional school hours. For organizations expanding their program to serve more families, grants may increase to $10,000. Interested applicants should review this FAQ and start an application here. 


For more information, contact: 

Innovation Awards

NJCNF also aims to support new initiatives and systems-focused work to improve child food access through a small number of Innovation Awards. Organizations may apply for support to pilot programs, seed unique partnerships and collaborations, or develop additional statewide resources. These awards are available to organizations throughout the state of New Jersey. 

If interested in proposing an idea and learning more about how to apply, please contact Karen Bustard at   

Program History

NJCNF has emerged as a unique partnership between a community development financial institution (CDFI), advocates on the ground, and partners throughout the state, to increase participation in federal child nutrition programs and expand the availability of fresh and nutritious food to children across the state of New Jersey.   

Between 2019 and 2020, NJCNF supported 25 organizations that participated in the CACFP and/or the SFSP by offering grants, technical assistance, and sector resources to federal nutrition program sponsors, sites, and meal vendors. Awards helped organizations to increase program participation, improve meal quality, and increase financial sustainability. In addition, during summer 2020 NJCNF Emergency Meal Awards helped 41 organizations continue meal service during pandemic disruptions. Learn more about these awards in the NJCNF Emergency Meals Grants Awards Summary. 

Project Partners

Hunger Free New Jersey – NJCNF partners with Hunger Free New Jersey and the Food for Thought Campaign in its advocacy efforts to ensure that every single New Jersey child has healthy food to eat, every single day. 

Advocates for Children of New Jersey – ACNJ works to identify children’s needs through research, policy and legal analysis. Reinvestment Fund’s Policy Solutions team has partnered with ACNJ on research to expand participation in CACFP. 

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