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Healthy Food for Denver's Kids

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Photo of various healthy foods like berries, fruits, vegetables, grains, and juices

Healthy Food for Denver's Kids logo

Through Ordinance 302, the Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids (HFDK) Initiative proposed to increase taxes to establish a fund for healthy food and food-based education for Denver’s youth. The ballot measure was approved by voters in November 2018 and went into effect in January 2019. The 0.08% increase in sales and use tax within the City and County of Denver is expected to generate approximately $11 million dollars annually for ten years. The money is being distributed through competitive grants to agencies of local government and non-profit organizations, with an emphasis on serving low-income and at-risk youth. Funding decisions are being made by a Commission made up of non-profit, government, and community member volunteer appointees. The Commission is staffed by the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE).


Additional Information

Learn more about the purpose of funds, who's involved in the program, and Commission meetings.

Funds from the Healthy Foods for Denver's Kids Program go to:

  • Help Denver’s kids (primarily low income or at-risk) have year-round access to up to three healthy meals and snacks per day
  • Hands-on experiential education and public health programs about farming, gardening, cooking, home economics, nutrition and healthy eating
  • Preferential procurement of food from Colorado farms, ranches, and food manufacturers
  • Organizations must conduct the majority of their activities within the City and County of Denver, and principally benefit the city and its residents
  • Grantees must provide regular reporting on activities funded
  • Some funds can cover administration for applicant organizations, but no more than 10% can go towards City administration costs

Overview of the HFDK Commission:

The ballot measure 302 was brought forward by a group of community members based on community canvasing and input and was approved by voters in 2018.

In the Summer of 2019, the Denver Office of Boards and Commissions selected members for the Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids Commission (HFDK Commission). The HFDK Commission was created to advise and review the distribution, effectiveness and impact of tax funds and other funds allocated to the initiative. The HFDK Commission is appointed through the Denver Office of Boards and Commissions and administered by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE). Members serve terms of three years.

The HFDK Commission consists of 13 members, including:

  • Three members of the Mayor’s cabinet, or staff of City departments, appointed by the Mayor
  • Two members of the City Council, approved by the City Council
  • Four residents of the city, appointed by the Mayor
  • Four representatives of city-wide organizations or institutions engaged in food related activities, each appointed by the Mayor

Required Commissioner Experience:

Members should represent wide systems knowledge in food, gardening, youth development, non-profit administration, public health, grant-making, and business development. Appointed commissioners should reflect the geographic, demographic, socioeconomic, and ethnic diversity of the City and County of Denver. Commissioners must be residents of the City and County of Denver, over the age of twenty-one (21) years, and not currently a volunteer or paid staff person of an organization applying for Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids Initiative funding.

Duties of the Commission:

The HFDK Commission will meet monthly to establish by-laws, set funding priority areas for the fund, issue funds for healthy food and related education and ensure the funds are best used for their intended purposes. Members will advise how to use the funds through a public application process and determine the criteria by which organizations and projects will be selected to receive funds. The HFDK Commission meets according to public meeting rules and reports annually on the funds distributed to the City Council and Mayor.

Selected Members of the Commission:

  1. Blake Angelo, citizen member
  2. Laine Cidlowski, Denver Department of Public Health & Environment
  3. Susan Gallo, Office of Children's Affairs
  4. Patti Iwasaki, Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council
  5. Shelby Miller, citizen member, Natural Grocers
  6. Lisana Muñoz, Denver Human Services
  7. Deborah Ortega, Denver City Council Member at Large
  8. Chelsea Párraga, citizen member
  9. Andrea Pascual, Denver Public Health
  10. Sandy Stenmark, citizen member
  11. Jamie Torres, Denver City Council Member District 3
  12. Taber Ward, citizen member 
  13. Alexis Weightman, Colorado Health Foundation

Commission Term: Three years. The terms shall be staggered so that at least three (3) of the commissioners shall be appointed each year. No commissioner shall serve more than two terms.
Compensation: None
Confirmation: No
Function:  Determine the allocation of funding derived from Healthy Food for Kids Sales Tax. The Commission consists of 11 members appointed by the Mayor and 2 members appointed by City Council.
Qualifications: Must be a member of the Denver community.
Enabling Authorization: Ordinance #302

More details about requirements and qualifications for the Commission are available on the Board and Commission website

If you’re interested in serving on the Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids Commission, please visit our Commission Application page for additional information on requirements, qualifications and the application process.

The HFDK Commission meets regularly according to the schedule below:

Meets: Third Friday of the month
Meeting Time: 9 am - 12 pm
Meeting Location: Refer to the calendar below for meeting location details

The HFDK Commission meeting schedule will be posted online on the calendar below. All meetings are open to the public.

If you are interested in joining this meeting remotely via Zoom, please register in advance: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For more information about funding priorities and grant opportunities, including meeting agendas, PowerPoint presentations and meeting notes, please visit our Google Drive

We will be posting the agenda and accompanying materials to our Google Drive, at least a week ahead of the meeting. 

Interpretation services and accessibility accommodations will be available for HFDK meetings upon request. Please submit your request at least 2-weeks ahead of the meeting by emailing


Healthy Food for Denver's Kids Calendar

graphic depicting timeline of HFDK funding

Timeframe: Funds will be collected from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2028 and distributed by December 31, 2029.

Healthy Food for Denver's Kids Funding Timeline (text only PDF)


The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment launched the Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids Grant Program in February 2020 to support healthy food access and food-based education for youth.

The grant program closed its first funding opportunity on April 30, 2020. The HFDK program has also awarded almost $900,000 in emergency hunger relief funding to more than 50 organizations in the community.

For more information about current grantees, as well as previous funding requirements, priorities and application guidelines, visit the grant opportunities page

Contact the Healthy Foods for Denver's Kids Program

If you have questions or comments about the Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids Initiative, please contact:

Lauren Howe
HFDK Program Administrator


Media Relations

Ann Cecchine-Williams
Interim Communications Director

Tammy Vigil
Manager of Media Relations


Denver Public health & Environment official logo