Overall FAQ

Who is behind this?

  • Healthy Food for Denver is a 100% citizen-led initiative – we are a group of residents that care about food and community. We are working with local nonprofits, many of whom have endorsed the campaign.

Do I have to live in Denver to support?

  • To vote on Ballot Initiative 302, you must vote in Denver County elections. 
  • BUT if you don’t live in Denver there are other ways you can help! 
    • Post about your support for what we are doing on Social Media:
      • Twitter: #HealthyFood4Den
      • Instagram: @HealthyFoodforDenver
      • Facebook: @HealthyFoodforDenver
    • Sign up for our newsletter or donate 

Why is this important?

  • In Denver,  1 in 7 kids missed a meal this month because their families cannot afford three meals per day
  • Colorado is the third fastest growing state for childhood hunger
  • Food insecurity impacts our kids’ ability to learn and can create lifelong health impacts
  • 68.51% of kids in DPS qualify for Free/Reduced lunch

Isn’t the Denver community doing well?

  • It is! The unemployment rate in the US is 4%, Colo 3%, and in Denver 2%,  but that prosperity is not shared with everyone. With an economy that is doing so well, can’t we can afford to invest in helping our kids and our neighbors who need it most?

How would this initiative help?

  • Helps provide 3 healthy meals for kids year-round (to fill in gaps between school lunch and other meal programs)
  • Provide cooking, gardening, and healthy eating classes
  • Supports local farms, ranches and food businesses (when possible, affordable)
  • Schools and youth-focused non-profits already doing this good work can apply for funds, like Denver Urban Gardens, the GrowHaus, Revision, Denver Food Rescue, and more

Where does the money come from?

  • Increase the current sales tax by 0.08% (less than a penny on a $10 purchase)
  • Tax expires at the end of 9 years (Distributed funds over 10 years)
  • Over the course of 10 years, this will raise around $100 million, estimated $11.2 million in the first year
  • Colorado has the 6th lowest state sales tax in the country at 2.9%

How does the funding work?

  • This creates a Commission made up of 5 public officials (city council members, etc.) and 8 community members to distribute the funds
  • The majority-community board would make decisions, similar to the way other scientific and cultural taxes are distributed in the city  

What is the sales tax in Denver County?

  • Colorado state sales tax =  2.9 % (the lowest sales tax rate of all states with sales taxes!)
  • Denver sales tax = 3.65 % (we are proposing to increase it to 3.73%)
  • Total sales tax in Denver  = 7.65 % (State Sales Tax + Local Sales Tax + RTD +Cultural Facilities District tax)

How much food do school meals cover for kids?

  • Consuming both breakfast & lunch at  school provides 58% of a child’s daily calories

What does signing the petition mean?

  • Signing these petitions helps get the issues on the ballot this November
  • Just because you have signed doesn’t mean you have to vote yes (though we obviously would like you to!)
  • If we get enough signatures (10,000!), Denver County residents get to vote on this important issue   

Non-Profit Advocacy FAQ 

We have received a number of questions about the ability of non-profits (501c3) to advocate or lobby for specific policy issues.

It is confusing for a couple of reasons. First, non-profits cannot engage in partisan elections at all – meaning they cannot endorse nor oppose specific candidates. Second, non-profits can engage in limited legislative lobbying activities, but it must be an “insubstantial” part of the nonprofit’s activities. This is a difficult limit to articulate (even for the IRS, see here).

Fortunately, the IRS offers a better option to reduce the risk of the generic standard – that option is called the Expenditure Test (defined by the IRS here) and is available to non-profit organizations who make an 501(h) election by filing form 5768 (here). The major impact is one additional tax (Schedule C filed with the Form 990 of 990-EZ available here) required each year until the h election is removed. This information is educational for a general audience, please consult your tax and/or legal advisor to confirm specific impacts to your organization.

For more information from the National Council of Nonprofits, see “Taking the 501(h) election The Powerful, Free, and Easy 501(h) Election” here

For more information from the Alliance for Justice, see “Worry-Free Lobbying For Nonprofits, How To Use The 501(h) Election To Maximize Effectiveness” including a letter from 17 tax experts on page 11 here

For more information from the IRS (Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 17-Feb-2018), see “Measuring Lobbying Activity: Expenditure Test” here