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FY 2017 Technology Innovation Grant Summaries

Technology Innovation Grant Awards by Date
StateGrant TypeAward DateAmount
FloridaImplementationSeptember 2017$149,824.00
KansasImplementationSeptember 2017$962,798.00
MichiganImplementationSeptember 2017$840,000.00
MinnesotaImplementationSeptember 2017$1,942,547.00
MontanaImplementationSeptember 2017$1,730,656.00
IowaImplementationSeptember 2017$613,636.00
PennsylvaniaImplementationSeptember 2017$282,183.00
New JerseyPlanningSeptember 2017$96,471.00
TennesseePlanningSeptember 2017$93,222.00


Implementation Grants
Florida Department of Elder Affairs - $149,824.00

In 2016, Florida had 133 certified and active Adult Care Food Program (ACFP) providers, up from 83 in 2015, and served over 2.5 million meals to eligible participants throughout the state. Over time, the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) has identified needed areas of improvement to the mandatory ACFP training process to enhance program accountability and efficiencies at both the state and local levels. With funding from the Child Nutrition Technology Innovation Grant (TIG), DOEA will address these identified deficiencies by creating an integrated web based training system that will connect local ACFP providers and DOEA staff to a common interface so that training can be completed and monitored without delays or duplicating effort. The new ACFP training system will be developed in English and Spanish, and hosted in a learning management system to increase efficiency. This web-based system will reduce duplication of effort among providers and DOEA staff, reduce possibilities of errors, reduce staff costs, and will enable tracking for user performance. It will also collect the feedback needed to enable ongoing improvements toward overall efficiency, accountability, and integrity of the program’s training requirements. The new ACFP training system can also be shared with other state nutrition programs and edited to serve different populations. For more information, please contact Ginnifer Barber at or (850) 414-2031.

Kansas State Department of Education - $962,798.00

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) proposes to increase integrity and reduce program errors by adding customer-driven solutions to its existing KN-CLAIM (Kansas Nutrition Claiming and Information Management) system to replace burdensome paper-monitoring tools and excel spreadsheets. KSDE will gain the capability to effectively and efficiently assess, monitor, and review sponsoring organizations to ensure accountability by designing and implementing additional applications that are fully integrated into KN-CLAIM and deliver a seamless user experience. The four technology improvements are: 1) Engineer an intelligent and programmable workflow-enabled infrastructure to allow the automation of the Serious Deficiency (SD) process; 2) Design and implement a comprehensive web-based Child Nutrition Program procurement review tool; 3) Develop and implement browser-based program-specific auditing software and 4) Integrate secure, browsing-based review and monitoring applications that provide the KSDE Child Nutrition Consultants access to real-time data flow from KN-CLAIM, reduction of redundant data collection and seamless integration. These solutions will prevent internal errors, increase efficiency of data collection, reduce processing time and paper waste and increase error checks. They will improve the overall monitoring process enabling KSDE to determine program errors in real time, better detect and prevent misuse of federal funds, increase integrity in the procurement process and make possible cross-talk capabilities among KSDE staff and program sponsors at all times, especially during the corrective action/ SD process. KSDE will also increase its capacity to effectively evaluate success in reducing errors, ensure effective use of federal resources and improve outcomes for high risk/error prone Sponsors. For more information, please contact Cheryl Johnson at or (785) 296-2276.

Michigan Department of Education - $840,000.00

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has created several web-based applications over several years to address various needs of Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs). MDE sees an opportunity to greatly reduce the administrative burden placed on local CNP participants and MDE staff while improving accountability and performance by designing and implementing an interactive Dashboard. The Integrated Child Nutrition Program Dashboard (Dashboard) will integrate the annual program application, claims, payments, and administrative review systems and provide consolidated user management, task lists, and calendars. The Dashboard will be developed in-house, connecting the current diverse systems utilized for each function. Currently, CNP applicants must navigate several computer applications to fully participate in the various CNPs. The Dashboard will extract data from multiple systems, including Michigan Electronic Grant System Plus (MEGS+), a Custom Off The Shelf (COTS) application for the annual program application; Michigan Nutrition Database (MiND), a custom application for claims; Educational Entity Master (EEM), an MDE database for agency data; Grant Electronic Monitoring System/Michigan Administrative Review System (GEMS/MARS), a custom application for Administrative Reviews; and a custom application for program payments to provide users the ability to navigate the life cycle of CNPs. The Dashboard visually weaves disparate systems into one location to provide users a single source for information and resources needed to manage CNP participation. The Dashboard will be a “universal” application which can be used by other states to integrate their own unique systems. For more information, please contact Peter Cyril Jones at or (571) 373-3261.

Minnesota Department of Education - $1,942,547.00

The Minnesota Department of Education needs a comprehensive administrative review automated system for use by compliance personnel for School Nutrition Programs, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Program (SFSP). Currently, only the NSLP is using an automated Administrative Review system which was developed. This system currently in use is very limited in functionality, cannot connect directly with any of the sources of information used by compliance personnel and is neither user friendly nor ADA compliant. The proposed solution will leverage an Administrative Review system already developed and implemented by the Michigan Department of Education, which we anticipate will lead to substantial savings in staff effort, implementation time, and money. The Michigan Department of Education has agreed to share the code base for their GEMS/MARS system with Minnesota and provide technical assistance to help Minnesota configure and implement the system on Minnesota servers. Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) version of Michigan’s Administrative Review system will interface with other Minnesota systems that provide vital data needed by compliance personnel, enabling them to access and utilize needed information without having to log into other systems, upload spreadsheets, and perform manual entry. This will also provide greater simplicity and streamlining for completion of required compliance data by school food authorities (SFA’s) and other child nutrition program sponsors. For more information, please contact Debrah Firkus at or (651) 582-8775.

Montana Office of Public Instruction - $1,730,656.00

The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) faces various program challenges because of its low and broad geographically dispersed population, as well as the persistent poverty recently recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) expansion of its StrikeForce Initiative into thirteen Montana counties. Among other things, this expansion acknowledges the need for collaborative financial and physical partnerships to continue to improve food security by increasing access to safe and nutritious foods. Program administration requires technology to be available in many isolated communities. Communication challenges arise among state agency and school staff, as well as with families and between computer systems. Business processes are sometimes involuntarily chosen, as limited financial resources and geographic and technological isolation impact available options. The grant projects will allow the OPI to continue work that began during the ART II Grant further developing access to a body of child nutrition that:

  • Enhances broadband connectivity in remote locations to fully utilize the OPI’s cloud based child nutrition software
  • Integrates the USDA’s Free/Reduced application into the Child Nutrition Program
  • Expands Menu Planning functionality to allow more sponsor collaboration
  • Streamlines responses to Data Requests made by many and various partners, auditors, and government bodies
  • Streamlines data and simplifies the OPI’s reporting to the USDA
  • Upgrades and integrates Montana’s Direct Certification Application (DCA), which will reach end of life by 2021
  • Deploys a mobile application for the Summer Food Service Program
  • Helps provide the necessary technology for the SFSP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) demonstration

For more information, please contact Christine Emerson at (406) 444-2502.

Iowa Department of Education - $613,636.00

The Iowa Department of Education has received a Technology Innovation Implementation grant to assist with increased CNP complexity and demands which requires improved communication of accurate information between the state and local levels. Plans include converting the CACFP Home Sponsor management plan and calculations for the school non-program revenue tool to web-based formats. In addition, the current web-based application system will be streamlined for schools and SFSP sponsors to implement the CACFP At-Risk Program. Iowa’s tradition of “local control” has resulted in a large number of CNP operators. It is challenging to efficiently and effectively manage, assist and monitor the number of organizations. New reports will assess risk factors, target sites for review, focus outreach efforts for expansion, and identify schools eligible for severe need breakfast. Grant objectives will reduce time required for gathering data, leaving more time for technical assistance. Improved communication of accurate guidance will occur by providing a mobile phone application to determine if CACFP foods are creditable at the point of purchase. Purchases will be more accurate and monitoring will be easier. Grant objectives also streamline state agency function and expand access to pertinent pre-review information for CACFP and SFSP consultants. Effectively applying technology to provide information and tools needed for reviews, program operation, and outreach will streamline and improve accuracy of communication at all levels. For more information, please contact Ann Feilmann at or (515) 281-4757.

Pennsylvania Department of Education - $282,183.00

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Division of Food and Nutrition (DFN), has oversight for School Nutrition Programs (SNP), Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP), and the Summer Food Service Program. Technology grants for SNP have been available for a couple years. PDE, DFN has taken advantage of these grants and, as a result, implemented technology that has increased oversight and integrity in the SNP. We’d like to move in the same direction for SFSP and CACFP where operational funding is very limited and grants are seldom available. There is a need for improved integrity oversight in these programs and the most efficient mechanism to improve oversight is through the use of technology. DFN has oversight for over 1000 CACFP sponsors totaling nearly 4000 sights. The SFSP has nearly 300 programs with nearly 3000 sites. DFN exceeds the required administrative review and monitoring requirements for each program, however we propose implementing technology that can reduce sponsor or site level administrative error associated with recording and reporting meal counts (SFSP), a state agency administrative review and monitoring module that reduces manual tracking of reviews (SFSP), and a state agency risk management module that provides reports to allow DFN to detect concerning activities that warrant review of documentation or additional monitoring (primarily for CACFP and SFSP but will also be used for SNP). For more information, please contact Vonda Cooke at or (717) 783-6556.


Planning Grants
New Jersey Department of Agriculture - $96,471.00

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Food and Nutrition’s Summer Food Service Program, from applications to claims to administrative review, is operating on a paper based system. The Division needs an electronic system for efficient and effective support of program administration. Continuing to operate a paper based system is extremely labor intensive, requiring more staff to operate the program, and leaves room for a huge margin of error; greatly impacting program integrity. The cumbersome nature of the paper application process is also a barrier to potential program participants. The SFSP in New Jersey currently administers the program to 111 sponsors and approximately 1350 feeding sites. With continued outreach efforts, we only expect those numbers to grow. Since 2015 participation has increased by 13 new sponsors and 240 new sites and in 2016 New Jersey children were served over 4.8 million summer meals. That’s over 85,000 children daily. Despite supporting expansion through the extensive state agency outreach and collaborative statewide partnerships efforts, which has raised awareness and shown increased participation in 2016, we are only reaching 19.5% of New Jersey children that are eligible for free and reduced priced meals during the school year. Expectations for increased sponsor participation in 2017 and beyond must be accounted for. Supporting a program of this size with a paper based system is challenging. Development of an electronic system to support the additional sponsorship and expanded returning sponsorships is critical to the success of our program so New Jersey can continue to feed more hungry children during the summer months. For more information, please contact Tracii Butler Proctor at or (609) 984-0692.

Tennessee Department of Human Services - $93,222.00

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) Nutrition programs is charged with providing nutritious meals to children and youth through the Summer Food Service Program and reimburses qualified organizations that provide eligible meals to participants who meet requirements through the Child and Adult Care Food Program. During the planning grant period, the goals described in this proposal will lead to comprehensive research related to an innovative web application for real-time data and the development of business requirements for the implementation of a web application in Tennessee. In light of the above, TDHS Nutrition programs proposes the following objectives for the planning grant period: 1. Complete a feasibility study of current capabilities and research entities that currently use a real-time data reporting model. 2. Establishment of a guiding coalition comprised of TDHS staff and Sponsor Organization representatives. Additionally, these activities will result in the following deliverables: 1) completed business requirements, 2) development of an RFP that will lead to procurement of the web-based application or a pathway to internal development of a web-based application, and 3) comprehensive research related to real-time data reporting models and the impact on program integrity. As we implement this project we expect outcomes that will ensure the state is prepared to implement real time reporting through the acquisition of an established system or by development of a unique product. For more information, please contact Allette Vayda at or (615) 313-3769; or Petrina Jones-Jesz at or (615) 770-6936.

Page updated: November 22, 2023