Food Security

Center Community-Driven Solutions for Food Security

Learn more about how we're taking action

Everyone should have reliable and dignified access to fresh, nutritious, culturally relevant, and affordable food. While Hawaiʻi and California are home to vibrant agricultural regions, the benefits are often out of reach for too many people, especially people of color and residents of low-income ZIP codes. With rising costs of living and inequitable access to living-wage career opportunities, too many people are forced to make trade-offs between paying rent and feeding themselves and their families. 

While traditional food security strategies and interventions provide critical resources, gaps persist in meeting communities’ long-term needs. Food insecurity is nuanced and results from interconnecting issues that include historic disinvestment and racial, economic, and environmental injustices. In the current phase of our work, Stupski seeks to prioritize community-driven solutions to food security that are grounded in health equity, engage and strengthen neighborhood leadership, celebrate culture, and deepen local resilience. 

These ideas and approaches are not new. Through the end of Stupski’s spend down in 2029, we commit to partnering with organizations supporting community-led work in the field, recognizing the deep history, vision, and legacy of communities and collaboratives driving long-term solutions for change.

To reach our goal,

we will invest in the following initial strategies in the Bay Area and Hawaiʻi:

Invest in Neighborhoods

Promote community solutions to meet community needs

In the next phase of our food security work, Stupski will prioritize a neighborhood strategy, collaborating with and investing in community-based organizations (CBOs) and partnerships that uplift community assets and strengths in San Francisco and Alameda Counties and Hawaiʻi. 

Why CBOs?

CBOs are grounded in the lived experiences of people in their communities. They are at the frontlines of crises, alongside individuals and families navigating the effects of racism, displacement, and the pandemic. Impactful CBOs hold deep relationships built on trust and commitment and can nimbly adapt and shift resources to meet current needs. They shape programs that are culturally relevant—offering multilingual resources and providing culturally appropriate foods—in ways that promote dignity for community members.

This strategy allows flexibility for communities to define and determine what food security means to them—and includes approaches that span food justice, the intersections of food as medicine with public health, equitable economic development, and food sovereignty. Our current cohort of CBO partners have moved from the planning phase of their projects into implementation of community-centered food security solutions. Amid multiple, ongoing crises, these CBOslike many othershave had to pivot to meet both residents’ ongoing and emergent needs. That has further reinforced the importance of investing in neighborhood-led action to weather the food insecurity crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defend and Protect Public Saftey Net Programs

Public safety net programs like CalFresh and SNAP were systematically undermined during the Trump administration, leaving millions of people without food assistance, scared of participating in programs they needed to survive. It has become imperative for Stupski to support advocacy efforts to expand and restore trust in these essential programs. As part of that work, the Foundation will support efforts to protect recent expansions of benefits introduced during the Biden administration and in response to COVID-19.

Learn more about the work our partners are leading to advance food care policy.

Expand Food as Medicine 

Patients with chronic diseases and other severe illnesses need treatment options beyond medications and surgical procedures. Food as medicine programs use an upstream approach that taps into the power of nutritious foods to nourish the body, help prevent disease, and mitigate chronic illness. These programs advance health equity by transforming the health care system’s role to increase access to, and utilization of, the best available affordable food to improve communities’ overall health. Our work will build on recent gains in positioning medically tailored meals for coverage by Medicaid with the goal to also include food prescriptions coverage. Additionally, we support food as medicine approaches that link healthy and just food systemsincluding fair labor and sustainable practicesas a vital part of community health.

Learn about the initiatives our partners are leading to expand food as medicine. 

Bolster Universal School Meal Programs

School meal programs are a critical source of food for students, nourishing nearly 130,000 students who qualify for free and reduced priced meals in San Francisco and Alameda Counties. Breakfast is served at nearly every school in the two counties, but only 1 in 4 qualifying students eat school breakfast because of barriers like meals being served too early and stigma among their peers. 

We are partnering with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program to move breakfast to within school hours in our local school districts in an effort to grow participation levels to match the national average (around 50%). Making breakfast a part of the school day just like lunch has proven to reduce student hunger, eliminate stigma, increase attendance, and improve academic performance, making it easier for students to focus and thrive in school. As we learn more through our school breakfast grantmaking, we are investigating other school meal programs to increase school meal participation and enhance food security, particularly in underserved school districts in Alameda County, San Francisco County, and Hawaiʻi public schools.

OUTCOMES

By implementing these strategies, Stupski will support our partners to achieve the following outcomes:

ACCESS

Strengthened access to a range of food security resources—such as farmers markets, SNAP and matching benefits programs, and new tech-platform solutions—that fit each of our communities’ unique needs   to bridge supply and demand

QUALITY

Increased quality of food security services, such as better nutrition, dignity of services, and culturally relevant food

RESILIENCE

Strengthening of community-led sustainable food systems linked to local food production, distribution, and fair labor practices