Students stand holding radishes.

.Funding Shortfall FAQ

Updated 6/6/2024

Please note: Common Threads’ strong intention is to sustain food education programs in all of our current partner schools. That can only happen with the support of folks like YOU who share our commitment to raising healthy kids. 

Please see the “how can I help” section below – it takes a village to raise healthy kids!


What happened? 

AmeriCorps shifted its funding allocations for the 2024-2025 program year. This means that Common Threads’ budget and its service capacity are reduced.


How will Common Threads handle the shortfall? 

We are nimble, creative, resilient, and realistic, with a proven track record in the face of funding adversity. Since our founding in 2006, we’ve survived — and grown — even with the capricious nature of funding cycles. But, we need your help — for the kids who count on Common Threads programs.

The Common Threads program gives kids more than nutritious food — we create joyful opportunities and support kids in practicing teamwork, enjoying the natural world, learning about the environment, being kind, being brave, being responsible, and trying new things! 


I support Common Threads’ mission and purpose. Can you reassure me, as a donor, that you can continue your good work?

Yes. Since our early days, Common Threads has diligently worked to build our reserves to weather storms like this one. Without help from the community, a budget crunch like we are facing would deplete our reserves in just a few years. You’ve shown us you care. Rather than wait until circumstances become dire, we have preemptively taken action. That’s one reason we’re asking for your help now.


Do you expect that individual donations will cover this shortfall?

No. But we trust your dedication to the cause will help close the gap. Common Threads relies on various funding streams, including individual and business donors, private foundation grants, state and federal funding, and fees for services. When navigating a shortfall, we look to all those sources to close the gap.


Are school gardens, classroom cooking, and the food truck in jeopardy?

Given the size of the deficit, we are assessing and prioritizing services that will be maintained and what services will be put on hold until funding is restored. Our commitment to sustain services to high-poverty and rural schools remains steadfast.

Here’s what you can expect from Common Threads in the coming months:

  • Basil, the Food Truck, will continue to serve free summer and after school meals to low income, hungry kids in hard to reach times and places. We will also continue to host fundraising events with Basil in order to support free meals for kids.
  • In the fall, our Garden Program Manager will work with community volunteers (including YOU!) to make sure that all of the currently active school gardens get put to bed for the winter. Our Education Program Manager will offer professional development and support for teachers interested in making use of the school gardens. Unfortunately, all garden classes led by Common Threads Food Educators will be on pause for the fall of 2024.
  • In the winter, we will offer classroom cooking programs at identified grade levels at high poverty schools, rural schools, and schools that have negotiated an explicit fee for services. We likely won’t have capacity to offer as many cooking lessons at as many different grade levels as we have in the past. As fundraising success allows, we hope to offer cooking programs at all of our current partner schools – but we simply can’t do that without additional resources. While we are working hard on applying for grants and creative funding options, that will only get us so far. We’re counting on people like you to help make sustained cooking programs for all kids possible!
  • In the spring of 2025, we will offer gardening classes at identified grade levels at high poverty schools, rural schools, and schools that have negotiated an explicit fee for services. Our Garden Program Manager will work with all schools who express interest and help recruit volunteers to set up a plan for basic garden maintenance. Here again, our wish is to be able to continue in partnership with all current school partners, and we will continue to fundraise creatively and aggressively to make this possible. Please see the “what can I do to help” section below


I thought schools paid Common Threads for the services you provide.

No, unfortunately, schools do not pay us.  And, school budgets are getting tighter. If healthy food and nutrition education on school campuses during the school day is to thrive, it will be because of the support of people like YOU.


Will Common Threads host AmeriCorps next year? 

We expect to host a smaller team, in collaboration with the Washington Service Corps. We will have further details on that in the coming weeks.


What can I do to help?

  • Share this information with others you know who would be eager support Common Threads’ mission and programs .
  • Use your voice. Let your school and district’s leadership as well as Whatcom County Health and Community Services know that you value food education — in the schools, where the kids are — and encourage them to articulate a sustainable plan to support school gardens and cooking programs.  Remind them that education about nutritious food is a public health issue; healthy food is the foundation for health, well-being, optimal growth, and development.
  • Consider writing letters to the editor or a guest essay in support of Common Threads.