Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542; Cell: 313-212-5636 or Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401; Cell: 313-401-9018
Detroit Public Schools has secured $15.8 million in additional revenue through a federal technology infrastructure E-rate grant thanks to a targeted marketing plan to increase the number of free- and reduced-price meal applications.
Through the marketing effort, Detroit Public Schools secured an additional 1,485 meal applications in five days, which will ensure enhanced nutrition for more children throughout the school system.
The total number of completed applications also qualifies the district for federal E-rate technology grants, which will fund millions of dollars in needed capital improvements to upgrade technology for DPS schools.
The increase in federal E-rate funding from the initiative amounts to $15,760,150.
“The successful Meal Benefits “Drive” means more students will be able to receive healthy and nutritious school meals for free or at a reduced rate,” said Janet Tisdale, Interim Executive Director for the Office of Food Services. “This will be very helpful to parents during these challenging economic times.”
To increase the number of applications, Detroit Public Schools partnered with Target, which generously agreed to provide the district with up to $100,000 in $50 gift cards to be used as an incentive for parents and guardians who had not completed the application forms for free- and reduced-price meals. The district agreed to match dollar-for-dollar the contributions.
Compuware also kindly provided a call center and employee volunteers to contact district parents and guardians.
The overall application percentage for free- and reduced-price meals increased by 3 percent – to 87 percent. That provides an overall increase of $1,459,351 in grant funding.
Individual school applications also increased above a required participation threshold for E-rate funding, increasing that allocation by $14,300,799.
“Reaching this goal required the effort of many participants,” Tisdale said. “We would like to thank the Office of Food Services, Compuware, Target, Office of the Emergency Financial Manager, and the Office of the Auditor General.”