Public, Society Benefit


aka Eat REAL

Washington, DC


We empower school districts to make food delicious, nourishing, and responsible through our evidence-based certification program. We provide education and support that inspires students, schools, and communities to value real food.

Ruling Year



Nora LaTorre

Main Address

1200 18th St Nw Ste 700

Washington, DC 20036 USA


healthy, food, real, certification, school food, K-12





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

Public Health Program (E70)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Eat REAL was established by health advocates wanting to improve and bring transparency to our food system. This system is flooded with overly processed and sugar-loaded meals made from ingredients that do not support a healthy population or planet. Food related disease is the #1 cause of early death globally and our broken food system is responsible for 1/4 of planet warming GHG. Unhealthy and highly processed food is putting our kids’ and the planet’s lifespans and healthspans at risk.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Eat REAL Certification

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

When Eat REAL was established in 2012, our certification was built to work with all types of foodservice establishments willing to make the changes needed to protect the health of their diners and do better for the planet. Eat REAL certified over 500 restaurants, hospitals, universities, corporate dining programs, and other foodservice establishments. In early 2019, we decided to evolve our certification program to work solely with our public K-12 school system. Public schools in the United States make up the largest restaurant chain, serving 30 million meals a day. They can provide up to 50% of students’ daily calories and have a collective buying power that when utilized can shift purchasing away from conventional and overly processed food towards more local, organic, real food that is better for our kids and the planet. Today, we are 100% focused on bringing Eat REAL certification to our schools and raising awareness on the value of real food in the surrounding communities.

Eat REAL Certified™ is a powerful way for communities to come together to improve food in schools. Modeled after the LEED Green Building Certification, Eat REAL’s certification program is built on comprehensive evidence-based standards that support continuous improvement. We partner closely with school Food Service Directors, giving them tools to lead the change. Third-party registered dietitians (RDs) lead an in depth, comprehensive assessment. The point-based system supports school districts to design and customize their action plans. As a school district achieves Eat REAL Certification, we support community engagement and awareness building.

Eat REAL (USHFC) has developed the following capabilities: - The Eat REAL Certified nutrition and sustainability certification developed with the consensus input of a wide body of health and environmental experts. - A highly effective, self-motivated team with a track record of successfully scaling a nationwide certification program. - A portfolio of intellectual property and brand assets to support REAL Certified and the "Eat REAL" program. - The financial support of numerous government and major health and environmental nonprofits.

We measure progress by the number of school districts, total schools, and total students impacted by the Eat REAL Certification program. Furthermore, we measure the level by which these districts achieve Eat REAL Certification as well as the types of changes they have implemented in their food service program. We also track and measure education and awareness regarding REAL food for the staff, students and parent communities in which we are partnered.

With over 500 previously certified establishments nationwide, the United States Healthful Food Council has demonstrated success in increasing consumer awareness and recruiting foodservice providers to support the program. With our focus into the K-12 area since 2019, we have partnered with 5 school districts, encompassing 237 schools and over 116,000 students. These districts are in process at this time and we anticipate significant reductions in sugar, increases in minimally processed/scratch cooked meals, and increases in plant-based/plant-forward meals offered (to name just a few areas of impact). We have a pipeline of over 300,000 students interested in joining our next cohort (Fall 2020). We project to reach 1.4 million students by 2025.

External Reviews



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?