Target Moves Its Bulls-Eye Off of K-12 Education

Just as students' summer vacations were coming to their bittersweet ends, the Target Corporation made its own bittersweet announcement: It raised its $1 Billion for Education and it was time to move on.

Two weeks later, Target announced its brand new giving initiative: Youth Wellness. To that end, Target’s first call is for proposals in what it’s calling its Youth Programming Wellness Grant. It focuses on two areas: Healthy Eating and Active Living.

So what does this mean for the K-12 education sector? Laysha Ward, the company's chief corporate social responsibility officer, stated:

We'll continue to support education, but through a wellness lens. Going forward, we recognize the achievement gap persists and we'll design wellness solutions that meet our guests, team and communities where they live, learn, work and play. We'll continue to focus on youth, both in school and out, and leverage current programs like our Meals for Minds in-school food pantry program and Target Field Trips, along with new solutions.

To that end, school districts and individual schools (public, charter, and private) are all eligible to apply for the new Youth Programming Wellness Grant. If you're a school in an underserved community (which Target defines as one where 75% or more of its students receive free or reduced lunch), Target is looking to support your active living and healthy eating education initiatives.

This new focus on youth wellness and K-12 education's potential to advance it also marks a change in Target's scope of giving. These new grants will range from $10,000 to $1 million each—far more than what it doled out previously with each singular education grant. Ward acknowledged this shift by stating, in reference specifically to Target's Take Charge of Education grant, "Although the collective impact was great, we know that the average school’s payout was around $370," and now Target is seeking "innovative ways to make to make the biggest impact."

What's still the same if you're a K-12 education program looking to secure Target funds: location. Your wellness program must serve youth and their families that live in the vicinity of a Target store (so here’s your Find a Store search engine).

Related: Target Foundation: Grants for Public Health