The Citi Foundation announced its first-ever Global Innovation Challenge request for proposal to support community organizations around the world that are developing innovative solutions to advance food security. This inaugural challenge will provide a collective $25 million to 50 organizations working to pilot or expand ideas and projects that  are designed to improve food security and strengthen the financial health of low-income families and communities.

The deadline to register is March 22, 2023, at 4 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. GMT.

The Citi Foundation seeks to award grants of $500,000 to 50 organizations and will prioritize projects in four areas:
1. Enabling Food Access:
Across the world, nonprofit organizations are on the front lines working to meet the needs of a growing number of individuals and families experiencing food insecurity and the economic strain of overall household expenses. The Challenge seeks to support community-based NGOs to improve or scale direct access to food. Programs could include (but not be limited to):
• Providing technical assistance to strengthen existing food initiatives operated by community-based organizations, including support for new partnerships or coalitions to improve food access • Innovative programming to leverage existing small, local grocery stores and/or neighborhood-based farmers’ markets to improve low-income communities’
access to food
• Supporting the creation of toolkits, courses, and educational resources to embed food initiatives into existing programs already reaching low-income communities, such as housing, financial inclusion, workforce, educational, and health programming

2. Addressing Food Affordability: With record food prices and soaring energy costs, people globally face high costs, which make it difficult to afford food. This is particularly true in low income countries where people spend almost half of their income on food.
1 The Challenge
seeks to support community finance efforts that enable low-income individuals and communities to address the affordability of food, thereby reducing their financial burden.
Programs could include (but not be limited to):
• Pilots involving community financing to raise income opportunities (e.g., direct cash assistance, microloans, debt management and reduction, household and food budgeting) • Providing technical and financial assistance to food retailers and food enterprises working in low-income communities to offer affordable and nutritious food • Improving awareness of and streamlining enrollment into government support programs

3. Improving Food Availability. One of the six key strategies to address food insecurity in the  2022 UN State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report is to reinvent the supply chain to lower the cost of food, particularly by shortening supply chains in urban areas so that residents can access fresh food. The Challenge seeks to support innovative solutions or pilots that could address challenges in the food supply chain while also catalyzing positive community  benefits, such as spurring the creation of new jobs and businesses. Programs could include (but  not be limited to):
• Providing resources and capacity building to community-based food delivery organizations • Providing access to storage solutions to prevent food waste • Developing mobile applications, open data sources, interactive maps, and other technologies to enhance the efficiency of local food supply chains
1 IMF. Response to High Food, Energy Prices Should Focus on Most Vulnerable (June 2022)

4. Supporting Community Resilience. The growing frequency and intensity of natural disasters and conflict, along with an increasingly volatile world, is jeopardizing the entire global food system. The potential harm to lives, livelihoods, and quality of life can be reduced by implementing strategies to manage disaster-related risks. The Challenge seeks to support communities to more effectively prepare for and respond to crises that disrupt food security,  ensure a secure food supply for the future, and make communities more resilient to food related external shocks. Programs could include (but not be limited to):
• Supporting new or expanded collaborations for preparedness and planning, including coordination of rapid-response efforts • Developing tools and/or resources that help communities improve their resilience by setting priorities and allocating resources to manage risks for their prevailing hazard
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