Walmart Foundation Strengthens Commitment to Academic Excellence Through AASA’s School Breakfast Initiative


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

  $2.5 Million Grant Provides Support to 11 School Districts  

Alexandria, Va. – Aug. 6, 2015 AASA, The School Superintendents Association, announced that breakfast will become available to more than 288,000 students in nearly 400 schools across the nation through a grant from the Walmart Foundation, which is part of $10.5 million in grants that the Foundation is giving this fall to support school feeding and nutrition education programs.

The AASA breakfast initiative significantly increases the participation in existing federal school breakfast programs. Studies have shown that children are not enrolled in the program for a number of reasons—either because they do not want to be seen eating breakfast in the cafeteria, their parents do not have sufficient information about the program or understand that they are eligible to participate, or transportation to get the child to school in time for breakfast is not available.

“Proper nutrition for our nation’s youth underpins the instruction they are receiving in their classrooms—and it starts with a healthy breakfast,” said Karrie Denniston, director of hunger relief and nutrition for the Walmart Foundation. “We are proud to work with an organization that represents school system leadership to help more students nationwide gain access to fuel needed to support learning. This important work is part of our larger commitment to helping provide 4 million people with nutrition education, and to help provide 4 billion meals to people in need over the next five years.”

The school districts receiving the grants are:

District: Chicago Public Schools
City/State: Chicago, Ill.
Superintendent: Forrest Claypool

District: Clayton Public School District
City/State: Clayton, N.J.
Superintendent: David T. Lindenmuth

District: Hempstead Union Free School District
City/State: Hempstead, N.Y.
Superintendent: Susan Johnson

District: Liberty County School System
City/State: Hinesville, Ga.
Superintendent: Valya Lee

District: Meriden Public Schools
City/State: Meriden, Conn.
Superintendent: Mark Benigni

District: Neosho R-V School District
City/State: Neosho, Mo.
Superintendent: Dan Decker

District: Newark Public Schools
City/State: Newark, N.J.
Superintendent: Christopher Cerf

District: Newburgh Enlarged City School District
City/State: Newburgh, N.Y.
Superintendent: Roberto Padilla

District: San Diego Unified School District
City/State: San Diego, Calif.
Superintendent: Cindy Marten

District: Spring Independent School District
City/State: Houston, Texas
Superintendent: Rodney Watson

District: Williamsburg County School District
City/State: Kingstree, S.C.
Superintendent: Carrie Brock                    

“A hungry student is not going to be an effective learner,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “Students who participate in school breakfast show improved attendance, behavior and standardized achievement test scores. We are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for supporting us on this program.”

“Our work as superintendents reaches far beyond what transpires in the classroom,” said David T. Lindenmuth, superintendent, Clayton, N.J., a grant awardee. “Fulfilling the basic needs of our students is vital. Providing a meal for hungry children gives us a thorough perspective about how we can and should help our underserved students.”

Districts were eligible for the grant based on low breakfast participation and a high free/reduced meal rate. In addition, superintendents needed to be members of AASA. Each successful application indicated a plan to serve breakfast in an alternative way – either in the classroom or through a grab and go model using kiosks or vending machines in the hallway so that more children have the opportunity to eat.

AASA’s Children’s Programs department, which oversees the school breakfast initiative, works to support where learning happens by providing assistance to school districts to ensure healthy, safe and engaged students. Learn more at:


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit