On the urging of Congressman Jim Costa, and with the support of Congressman David Valadao, the 2014 Farm Bill authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to award grants for ten national E&T pilots to increase income levels and reduce public assistance for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance. Grant applications had to be submitted by States. The California Department of Social Services submitted an application. Following a national competition, the USDA announced on March 19th that Fresno had been awarded one of only ten grants.

The $12.3 million USDA grant will enable the Fresno Bridge Academy to serve 1,500 families over a 3-year program at 9 sites in Fresno County:

  1. Southeast Fresno

  2. Southwest Fresno including the Lowell neighborhood

  3. Central/West Fresno

  4. Pinedale neighborhood

  5. El Dorado Park neighborhood

  6. Coalinga and surrounding community

  7. Kerman and surrounding community

  8. Reedley and surrounding community

Outcomes for these 1.500 families will be compared to a similarly sized control group of CalFresh beneficiaries who will not receive the services of the Fresno Bridge Academy. The goals of the pilot program are to: (a) enable at least 75% of participating families to increase income levels; (b) enable at least 45% of participating families to achieve sustainable self-reliance; and (c) produce a minimum return to taxpayers of $3.75 for every taxpayer dollar invested.

Fresno Bridge Academy