In Press Releases

Winner of United Way of the Greater Triangle’s Social Innovation Challenge Will Impact 2,500 Children Immediately

MORRISVILLE, NC (September 16, 2014) – Today, United Way of the Greater Triangle announced that Child Nutrition Services of Durham Public Schools was selected by a panel of five judges to receive the $50,000 award in the Social Innovation Challenge—100,000 Kids Hungry No More. Their innovative approach to delivering breakfast to all students will enable more students to receive a morning meal, eliminate the stigma associated with “free and reduced cost meals,” and directly impact educational success.

“This is a win for the students,” said Jim Keaten, executive director of Child Nutrition Services at Durham Public Schools. “Child Nutrition Services is a self-funded operation that does not receive funding from the district, the city, the county or the state. Without grants like this one, we would be unable to provide these services to students.”

“We are excited to partner with Child Nutrition Services in an initiative that will have an immediate impact on children,” said Mack Koonce, president and CEO of United Way of the Greater Triangle. “By making breakfast free for all students and delivering meals to classrooms, this investment will impact over 2,500 students immediately with expected growth over three years to impact 25,000 students daily.”

With the award, Child Nutrition Services plans to outfit five schools with equipment that will allow for breakfast in the classroom, second chance breakfast, grab and go meals, and food kiosks.

National studies show that students who eat breakfast miss 1.5 fewer days of school per year, score 17.5 percent higher on math tests and are 20 percent more likely to graduate from high school.

“My expectation is to share this model with the other schools in the Triangle and across the state,” added Keaten. “This program will be easy to replicate.”

“The community’s response to the Challenge has been a catalyst for continued work around social innovation and childhood hunger,” added Koonce. “We have already brought together all the Challenge participants with some of our business and nonprofit partners to continue working on solutions.”

The Social Innovation Challenge—100,000 Kids Hungry No More was a five-month entrepreneur-style competition to develop new ideas to address childhood hunger in the Triangle area. From forty applications, twelve were selected as semi-finalists and from those four became finalists. The finalists participated in a six-week accelerator process that provided education and mentoring to improve their ideas. The other finalists included Grocers on Wheels, Pennies 4 Progress and Yes2Fresh.

The finalists presented their final pitches to a panel of judges during United Way’s third annual CEO Sleep Out on Sept. 11, 2014. Durham Public Schools was also the winner of a special $5,000 CEO Selects Award given by the executives and community leaders that participated in the Sleep Out.

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About United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT)

By working with nonprofit partners, corporations, community and county leaders, along with thousands of volunteers and donors, United Way of the Greater Triangle is creating significant community change in Durham, Johnston, Orange, and Wake counties in North Carolina through an emphasis on achieving specific results and developing lasting solutions to some of our area’s most pressing issues.

Learn more about UWGT’s work at or find out about volunteer opportunities at