Target Corporation: Grants for Public Health

OVERVIEW: Target Corporation’s philanthropic giving is focused on wellness, following the principle that “Wellness begins where people live, learn, work and play.” This focus area and throughline debuted in September 2015.

IP TAKE: The wellness focus is a new way for Target to support children, in conjunction with their families, and the corporation wants to make as big a splash in this arena as it did in its recent campaign to provide $1 billion for education.

PROFILE: The Target Corporation has put a new bullseye on its wall. After the successful completion of its $1 billion for education campaign in September 2015, Target announced a new focus for its giving: Youth Wellness. Here’s the company’s position statement:

We believe wellness begins where people live, learn, work and play. So as part of our strategy, we’re exploring new ways to build a wellness portfolio focused on helping youth to lead healthy lifestyles by overcoming the barriers to wellness—things like access, affordability and inspiration.

To that end, Target is calling for proposals for its Youth Programming Wellness Grant. It focuses on two areas: Healthy Eating and Active Living.

And while Target’s position statement and the title of the grant still focus on youth (like its education campaign) this first call for proposals shows Target understands that a commitment to youth wellness also means a commitment to family wellness. Its Healthy Eating priority aims to “increase consumption of nutrient-dense foods by encouraging families to eat more fruits and vegetables.” Its Active Living priority aims to “increase physical activity by encouraging families to move more, including through active play.”

In order to secure Target dollars, your program and the youth and families it serves must live in the vicinity of a Target store (here’s your Find a Store search engine). Your wellness program must also be part of a 501(c)(3) or a school. And as the program starts out, Target says that preference may be given to programs working with underserved communities, which the corporation defines in part as places where 75 percent or more students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

While we’re talking numbers, these grants have a huge range, from $10,000 to $1 million—and even that wide range “is not absolute,” says Target. The company primarily intends to fund one-year grants, but that’s not set in stone, either.

The amount and time span of your ask should sync with your outcomes: numbers served, what you achieve with those you serve, and how that can be quantified. Target wants “to fund research-based and outcomes-oriented programs that are either proven or promising in driving measurable and sustained change in healthy attitudes and behaviors.”

One final note: Perhaps you’ve observed that this entry refers to the Target Corporation, not the Target Foundation. The Target Foundation does exist, but it specifically serves the Twin Cities area in Minnesota, which is the corporation’s headquarters. The Target Foundation supports social services and arts and culture grants in Minneapolis and St. Paul.


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