The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, is launching a new initiative to identify locally-supported policies that will reduce sugar consumption and build capacity for policy change. Excess consumption of sugar is linked to obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related chronic diseases that have tremendous social and economic costs. Reducing population-level consumption of sugar is one of the most promising strategies for addressing these pressing public health concerns. FLPC is offering pro bono technical assistance (TA) to community organizations, food policy councils, and local and state government entities across the United States interested in implementing innovative sugar-reduction policies. This request for proposals (RFP) application will remain open until July 31, 2018. FLPC anticipates making two TA awards as a result of this RFP. TA grantees will be notified by August 31, 2018.
FLPC was established in 2010 to address growing concerns about the environmental, health, and economic consequences of the laws and policies that structure the food system. FLPC works with community-based organizations, governmental clients, and other food system stakeholders to understand the laws impacting the food system and propose cutting-edge policy solutions.
Overview of the Project
FLPC will provide one year of in-depth capacity-building engagement that includes:
- nonpartisan research and legal consultation and resources on a variety of sugar-reduction policies tailored to the interests of the TA grantee,
- early-stage coalition building and community outreach support, and
- communications materials and media outreach.
To support and provide guidance to communities, FLPC will create and share resources (such as a short report and public presentations) that explain and evaluate various policies to reduce sugar consumption. FLPC will present policy options based on the existing evidence and help communities to identify and research policies that are the best fit for their goals and interests.
Technical Assistance Provided by FLPC
FLPC will conduct the following activities with TA partners:
Identify and Support Local/State Policy Priorities
- Present policy options and evidence to partner organizations to offer range of potential policy ideas.
- Facilitate prioritization amongst policy options with coalition members, ensuring selected policies have grassroots support and coalition buy-in.
- Research and provide additional support on selected priorities.
Build Local Capacity
- Build coalitions or enhance the capacity for action of an existing coalition or council.
- Establish or deepen relationships with key decision-makers and influencers, including legislators, agencies, private employers, health insurers, social service providers, and public health coalitions.
- Help facilitate and fund convenings of key stakeholders during FLPC’s site visits.
Implement Policy Action Plans
- Research and write memoranda for partner organizations on the rationale for proposed policies, and relevant legal and policy issues in partner communities.
- Develop educational materials such as template communications directed to legislators and other government policymakers (e.g. public comment, commitment letters, fact sheets, and leave-behinds).
- Draft sample legislation and regulations.
Eligibility to Apply for Technical Assistance
Any community-based organization, local, regional, or state food policy council, or local or state government entity (e.g., health department) is welcome to apply. FLPC will select TA sites based on readiness for policy engagement and change regarding sugar consumption policies, feasibility of policy success, potential to impact underserved populations, diversity in location/geography, and diversity of potential policy solutions of interest.
Expectations of Selected Technical Assistance Applicants
FLPC views its role as an advisor and TA provider, supplementing and supporting the work of community-based organizations and other stakeholders on the project. FLPC will work with each selected site to determine how best to assist its individual project. Work plans will be tailored to the needs of TA grantees who will have control over the policies pursued and resources prepared by FLPC. The specific services provided, to whom, and for how long they will be provided will be based on the information in the applicant’s application, conversations between FLPC and the TA recipient, and an initial needs-assessment period. These services will then be described in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between FLPC and the TA recipient.
FLPC will look to partner agencies to provide on-the-ground expertise about the proposed policy interventions. For the partnership to be successful, FLPC will also ask partner agencies to identify a point of contact who will be in regular contact with FLPC, help schedule conference calls and meetings, and support needs on site visits; review draft materials and provide feedback; and connect FLPC to other key stakeholders on the project.
Applications are due July 31, 2018. Throughout August, FLPC will have in-depth conversations with finalists before announcing final decisions by August 31.