Guilt-Free School Fundraisers Are Replacing Candy Pushers

Chocolate bars. Take and bake pizza and cookies. Popcorn. Lollipops. Candy canes. Candied nuts. The list of typical school fundraisers goes on and on, and none of it is any good for you.

True, there’s always wrapping paper, pencils or magazines, but how much of that does one family need? Many schools have come up with new and creative ways to raise funds, with the added bonus that some of these new fundraisers work hard to help improve the nutrition in the students. After all, kids who eat healthier have better immune systems, which translates to fewer missed days at school. Kids who aren’t tired due to a poor diet have more energy and often have less discipline issues – all benefits that every school could use.

Here are some great healthy fundraising ideas for your school to try:

The New York Road Runners serve over 100,000 kids a week across the country in their youth fitness program Mighty Milers. Currently available in every state in the country, NYRR provides schools with the tools necessary to host successful Fitness Fundraisers based on mileage goals. In March 2024, P.S. 269 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY’s “Little Haiti,” held a quarter mile charity run for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti and raised $3,200. One year later, P.S. 269 had another Fitness Fundraiser and raised over $5,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Topline Foods has worked with schools in the Phoenix area by providing restaurant quality, all natural and organic foods that are conveniently packaged and affordably priced. For each order placed on a school’s order page, Topline Foods will give back 10%, with an additional 4% for each returning family. A school with 1,000 students could earn $5,000 or more in a given year.

Tanaka Farms in Irvine, CA offers families at more than 70 schools the opportunity to buy a share in a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture – to raise funds. For each family that signs up, the school earns a profit, and each box purchased sends additional money to the school. The students are invited out to “their” farm and afforded the opportunity to pick their own produce.

California Fresh Fundraisers offers fresh citrus fruits during the months of December to April. Orders are taken at schools and produce is delivered in bulk, with a portion going back to the school.

Parents and students at Gauvin Blackrock Elementary in Coventry, RI have created a grade specific walk as a fundraiser. Children walk with their grade for an allotted amount of time depending on their age, with families encouraged to walk with their kids. No set monetary amount is asked, but each family is encouraged to raise as large of an amount as they are comfortable, with gift card incentives for each $50 and $100.

The Romona Elementary School PTA  introduced the Annual Romona 1K Family Fun Run in the spring of 2024. Entire families are encouraged to run/walk together as a way to kick-off the warm weather. Donations are accepted and the proceeds go to the PTA.

The Happy Gardener’s Eco-Fundraiser helps you to grow your own organic veggies and herbs while your school can earn 40% of the retail sales. In addition, the school can earn free composting products for their classrooms and cafeteria based on school sales.

Has your school held a healthy fundraiser “outside the box”? What would you like to see done to help support schools and improve the health of your family at the same time?

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