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USDA grant award

USDA Grant Award

The Southern Institute was awarded a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture in July 2004 to fund the Carolina Nutrition Alliance. Southern Institute President and CEO Sarah Shuptrine (above right) was presented with the grant award during a press conference held in Charleston, SC.


Covering Kids & Families

Supporting Families

Child Care/Early Education

Southern Business Leadership Council

Carolina Nutrition Alliance

Eligibility Process Improvement Center



2004 Annual Report

2004 Chartbook of Major Indicators

Other Publications

Carolina Nutrition Alliance (CNA)

The state budget process in South Carolina has prompted many difficult decisions. The DSS budget has been reduced by almost 30 percent, down from $126 million in 2001-02 to $89 million in FY 2003-2004. As a result, the agency has lost 1,300 employees in the past 18 months. All counties across South Carolina have seen a significant reduction in the workforce mainly due to layoffs. A hiring freeze, large amounts of accumulated leave time from long-term employees and a mandated 10-day unpaid furlough for each employee have compounded the negative effects of this reduction in staff.

The goal of increasing food stamp enrollment with reduced resources can be a daunting task for anyone, but to add this to an already stressed system, you conjure up an equation for inefficiency and error. The Carolina Nutrition Alliance offers a solution to simultaneously address the issues of increasing Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation while increasing the productivity of the eligibility worker, improving the accuracy and efficiency of the food stamp process and improving worker morale.

Working within current food stamp policy, we will improve the work processes of three South Carolina county DSS offices - Charleston, Beaufort and Richland. The Carolina Nutrition Alliance will empower Food Stamp staff at the DSS offices, to identify, test and implement eligibility process improvement strategies. The initiative will enhance staff capacity to solve problems, streamline work processes and improve worker morale. Once these process improvements are implemented to increase productivity, we will roll out a Faith Participation Campaign (FPC) to identify and assist potentially eligible participants to get enrolled and maintain enrollment.

Utilization of the structured network and the caring reputation of the Charleston faith-based community will increase participation and improve the image of the Food Stamp Program (FSP). Agape Ministries of Charleston will coordinate five regional partners who represent 35 churches within the county. Through the churches, the initiative will educate the community about food stamp benefits, screen applicants, assist with preparing applications, collect verifications and provide necessary transportation to/from DSS offices.

To accomplish these components, the Southern Institute on Children and Families, a private non-profit organization with a national reputation in eligibility policy and process improvement, has formed a partnership with the State agency administering the FSP, the South Carolina DSS, and Agape Ministries of Charleston, a community and faith-based organization, created to assist families in need with accessing support services they are eligible for and to improve the relationship between these entities. The initiative as proposed by this diverse and interdependent group meets the requirements for the $1 million State/Non-Profit Partnership grant offered by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

USDA News Release with Announcement of Grant Award

Project Purpose (PDF, 27KB)

Guiding Principles (PDF, 18KB)

Critical Components (PDF, 18KB)

CNA Contacts (PDF, 66KB)