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USDA Opens Applications for Cooperative Agreement to Improve WIC Participation and Retention

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service announced today a $20 million cooperative agreement opportunity for an academic or nonprofit organization to improve participation and retention in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, commonly known as WIC.

The WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Cooperative Agreement is designed to test new ways of reaching out to potential and current WIC participants. FNS will provide the selected organization funding to provide subgrants to WIC state and local agencies, community organizations, and other nonprofits to test community-based outreach strategies in increasing WIC participation and retention. It will also expand partnerships with community-based organizations to connect underserved populations with WIC benefits and services.

Participation in WIC is key to improving nutrition security and advancing equity for marginalized groups, including people of color, tribal populations, immigrants, and rural communities. WIC has a long history of improving health outcomes for children and producing long-term improvements in cognitive development and academic achievement. WIC also plays a role in supporting high quality healthcare for low-income pregnant women. Yet less than 6 of 10 who are eligible for the program are enrolled, and while participation rates are high among infants, they drop substantially as children get older. This cooperative agreement opportunity is one of many efforts FNS has underway to encourage participant retention.

Applications for the cooperative agreement are due by August 1; application requirements are available at on

This opportunity is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which included a historic investment in WIC and the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and is part of USDA’s broader efforts to modernize and improve program delivery and increase participation among eligible women and children. USDA encourages partners to share this opportunity widely with networks and interested parties.



USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

Page updated: January 11, 2023