Analysis

Promote Good Health While Raising Money for Schools

Research shows that healthy kids do better in school. That’s why there are nutrition standards for food and drinks sold in schools. But a gap in the rules is letting some states make choices that threaten children’s health.

This video shows how state and local leaders can play a key role in ensuring that school fundraisers don’t undermine students’ health.

Healthy ways to make a profit

Schools, student and parent groups, and other organizations often rely on fundraisers to supplement their budgets for educational and extracurricular activities. Many districts and clubs raise money in ways that promote good health and nutrition and avoid sales of candy and other junk food. The resources below offer great guides and ideas for planning a healthy fundraiser for your school.

  • A+ Fundraisers for High Schools: The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provides this guide to having a successful fundraiser while keeping your community healthy, which includes a calendar of ideas and a sample donation letter.
  • School Fundraising Toolkit: North Carolina’s Eat Smart, Move More campaign offers ideas and resources, including a how-to kit, for hosting healthy fundraisers.
  • School Fundraising Can Be Healthy and Profitable: The Center for Science in the Public Interest provides background information on the economics of school fundraising, including myths about the profitability of junk food, language discouraging unhealthy food, and promotional ideas.
  • Food & FUND$—Keepin’ It Healthy: This PowerPoint presentation from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is for anyone interested in promoting healthy fundraisers in the school community.

Fundraising success stories

With the rise in childhood obesity and poor diets, many schools are turning away from low-nutrition foods as a way to raise money. Choosing healthy alternatives helps reinforce:

  1. Children’s healthy eating and physical activity habits.
  2. Schools’ nutrition education curricula.
  3. Parents’ efforts to promote healthy choices outside of school.

See the links below for examples of schools that have successfully implemented healthy fundraisers.

Smart Snacks in School

The Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards make it easier for schools to offer more healthy food and beverage choices, while limiting options with too much fat, sugar, and salt.

Highlights include:

  • No limits on fundraisers that meet the new standards.
  • Schools decide what can be sold at events outside of school hours.
  • States decide whether to allow limited exceptions for less nutritious options.

For more information on Smart Snacks in School, please check out the resources on this page from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Fundraising policies, state by state

Although many states have said that all fundraisers must meet USDA’s Smart Snacks standards, others have created policies allowing some exceptions that make possible a wide variety of unhealthy fundraisers. To learn about your state’s policy, check out the National Association of State Boards of Education’s State School Health Policy Database.

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