Woman giving a baby milk using bottle

Say Hello to WIC

WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. This federal nutrition program connects eligible individuals to critical nutrition resources and support. This includes healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and healthcare referrals for children up to 5 years old, infants, and pregnant and postpartum individuals from households with low incomes.

Despite the demonstrated benefits of WIC, too few eligible people participate. In 2020, only about 50 percent of WIC-eligible women, infants, and children participated in the Program, equating to a shortfall of almost 6 million additional people.

The WIC Community Innovation and Outreach (WIC CIAO) Project wants to change that by identifying innovative outreach strategies to increase WIC awareness, participation, and benefit redemption, and to reduce disparities in WIC Program delivery.

The WIC CIAO Project is funded by a $44 million grant to the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to create this five-year initiative to help increase WIC participation. Through a partnership between FRAC, UnidosUS, the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF), and the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition (GSCN), the WIC CIAO Project will support WIC State agencies, which could be either a geographic State agency, a territory, or an Indian Tribal Organization (ITO) that administers the Program; local agencies; and nonprofit entities and organizations in developing and implementing innovative outreach strategies to increase WIC participation and retention, with a focus on underserved populations.

a little girl in a blue t-shirt and a blue plate sitting in a child's chair eating an orange

The WIC CIAO Project will:

Provide technical assistance and funding in at least 2 rounds over 5 years to at least 80 subgrant projects to conduct innovative WIC outreach

Apply an implementation science and evaluation framework to identify effective outreach strategies

Use learnings from the evaluation to inform a summary report and multiple national resources, including an outreach framework for WIC agencies and partners

Project Goals

Project Partners

The WIC CIAO Project is a partnership between the Food Research & Action Center, UnidosUS, Native American Agriculture Fund, and Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. It is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.