General Mills Foundation

Learn about the 20 organizations named 2019 Food Recovery Champions by General Mills in this news release.


A competitive grants program from General Mills Foundation to catalyze surplus food recovery programs across North America.


Food waste is a major social, environmental and economic challenge that undermines population food security, contributes to climate change, unnecessarily consumes natural resources like water, and adds cost burdens to families, communities and businesses.

While the scope of food waste around the globe can be daunting, we are encouraged not only by the fruits of some of our own efforts, but also by the growing commitment and momentum around the world to end the waste of good surplus food. With continued effort, we believe communities will soon be able to ensure that the majority of their surplus food is used to help feed hungry people, rather than go to landfills.

The Powerful Role of Food Recovery
While every effort should be made to prevent food surplus from occurring in the first place (since growing food takes up precious resources), we recognize that significant volumes of surplus food will continue to be generated by society for the foreseeable future. That’s why effective and efficient surplus food recovery programs are critical.

Grants Program
The General Mills Foundation's Food Recovery Champions grants program aims to catalyze proven and highly promising nonprofit food recovery programs, enabling greater levels of impact than ever before via expanded food recovery enablement. General Mills is especially interested in innovative approaches to surplus food recovery that are addressing gaps within the current field of surplus food solutions, programs which demonstrate strong potential for significant impact, and programs that can serve as models for scaling.

Targeted Outcomes
Through this program, General Mills will provide $1 million during 2019 to nonprofits whose programs represent the potential to contribute differential impact to one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Increased quantity of surplus food recovered and redistributed
  • Increased number of people served / benefitting
  • Increased efficiency of food recovery ($/lb. or $/kg.)
  • Increased reliability of food distribution to community feeding agencies

Nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada that are listed with the IRS as 501c3 organizations or nonprofits that are recognized as public charities in Canada that are operating food recovery programs in the United States or Canada, are eligible to submit a letter of intent. This grants program will not award funding for programs located outside of the U.S. or Canada.

  • Organizations may apply for an amount between $25,000 and $75,000 (maximum), so long as the requested amount does not exceed 20% of the organization’s annual operating budget.
  • Funds cannot be used for procuring food or new construction.

Program Timeline

October 30, 2018GMF issues request for Letters of Intent (LOIs)
December 9, 2018Deadline for nonprofits to submit LOIs (4:00pm CST/Minneapolis)
January 24, 2019GMF communicates to interested NPOs (either decline, or invite to submit full proposals)
February 22, 2019Deadline for full applications/ funding proposals (4:00pm CST/Minneapolis)
April 9, 2019GMF communicates funding decisions and grant award amounts to selected nonprofits
Late April 2019GMF begins disbursements
May 2019Grantees – "Food Recovery Champions" – publicly announced
October 2019Grantees submit midterm reports to GMF
May 2020Grantees submit final reports to GMF

Funding Priorities
General Mills will prioritize requests to fund projects that have the potential to catalyze new levels of impact. However, applicants may alternatively choose to apply for general operating support. Regardless of which support type sought, ALL applicants will be assessed on their potential to drive impact in food recovery via the evaluation criteria summarized below.

Evaluation Criteria
The judging panel will use a scoring framework that factors in a wide range of dimensions including:

  • Size of impact -- Extent to which the solution has or is projected to have a large impact contribution to food waste reduction and expanded food recovery in the community(ies).
  • Unmet Need – Extent to which the solution is addressing or fulfilling what is otherwise a void or unmet need within surplus food recovery; lack of redundancy with existing solutions.
  • Expandability – Extent to which the solution could be adapted, transferred, replicated or scaled to serve more people, communities or organizations.
  • Sustainability – Extent to which the nonprofit demonstrates how the program could be sustained over time via a range of funding streams and other resources.
  • Measurability – Extent to which the solution's impact can be measured and reported using an appropriate set of progress or performance indicators, in service of maximizing learning, continuous improvement and knowledge sharing in the sector.
  • Collaboration – Extent to which the organization demonstrates an ability to effectively collaborate within or across sectors to bring about the greatest social and environmental benefit.
  • Innovation – Extend to which the solution incorporates new or novel methods, models or technologies that enable expanded impact.

Reporting & Recognition
Awardees will be asked to provide a brief progress report six months after funding and a more detailed impact report approximately fourteen months after funds are disbursed. Organizations selected for funding may be publicly announced and featured by General Mills beginning in late spring 2019 to expand public awareness about the issue area and to highlight some of the impactful programs across North America helping to end food waste through food recovery.

So how do I get started and submit an LOI for my organization?
Please use our online survey-style LOI to express your organization's interest and potential suitability for this funding program.

Additional Information
Following the initial LOI phase that is designed to identify interested nonprofits, a subset of organizations will be invited to apply for funding. For that full application phase, nonprofits will be asked to use General Mills Foundation’s online application portal, with further instructions provided at that time. As this is a competitive grants program operating within a finite budget, not all organizations who submit LOIs or full applications will be funded.

Please also see our FAQs document

Thank you to all the nonprofit organizations engaged in community food security and food recovery today. You are undertaking vital work that has significant impacts on our shared communities and the environment. While we regret that we will not be able to fund all the organizations that apply, it is our hope that through this program we may be able to shine a brighter light on the issue and opportunity before all of us. - The team at General Mills Foundation