The first round of the WIC CIAO Request for Applications (RFA) has closed.
For more information, visit our RFA page.

To Increase WIC Participation, We Need Innovative Outreach Strategies.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federal
nutrition program that provides nutritious foods,
nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and
health care referrals to nutritionally at-risk infants,
children up to 5 years old, and pregnant and
postpartum individuals from
households with low incomes.

Graphic illustrating benefits of the WIC program, including reduced food insecurity and supporting economic stability

Despite the demonstrated benefits of WIC, too few eligible people participate.

Graphic showing outline of United States with text "In 2020, there was a shortfall of almost 6 million eligible individuals NOT participating in WIC"

In 2020, only 50 percent of all eligible individuals
and 41 percent of eligible children participated
in WIC, equating to a shortfall of almost
6 million additional individuals. Learn
more about recent WIC participation.

The WIC Community Innovation and Outreach (CIAO) Project Wants to Change That.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is facilitating WIC outreach, innovation,
and program modernization efforts to increase WIC participation and
retention and reduce disparities in WIC program delivery.

As part of the outreach, innovation, and modernization strategy and initiatives,
FNS is supporting the WIC CIAO Project which, through a cooperative agreement
with the project partners, will:

Step 1

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Provide technical assistance and funding in at least 2 rounds to a minimum of 25 projects to conduct innovative WIC outreach.

Step 2

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Apply an implementation science and evaluation framework to identify effective strategies implemented within projects.

Step 3

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Use these learnings to inform a summary report and multiple national resources including an outreach framework for WIC operators and partners.

Watch the WIC Community Innovation and Outreach Project launch event. Puedes ver la versión en español aquí.

Banner reading "Read the WIC CIAO fact sheet" against background of breakfast cereal on table
Banner for WIC CIAO fact sheet in Spanish against background of smiling young child

WIC CIAO Project Goals

The WIC Community Innovation and Outreach (CIAO) Project
aims to expand partnerships with community organizations and
use of community-level data to develop and test
WIC outreach efforts with three, interrelated goals.

Graphic illustrating three goals of WIC CIAO Project including increasing WIC awareness, WIC participation, and generating innovative WIC outreach
Banner reading "Sign Up for WIC CIAO Updates" against background of smiling young mother with child
Banner reading "Connect with the WIC CIAO Project Team" against background image of young child with mother

About the Project Team

Food Research & Action Center

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The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. For more information about FRAC, or to sign up for FRAC’s e-newsletters, go to


Logo of UnidosUS

UnidosUS is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit

Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative

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The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI) focuses on putting tribal sovereignty in food sovereignty, promoting tribally driven solutions to revitalize and advance traditional food systems and diversified economic development throughout Indian Country. IFAI provides Tribal governments, producers, and food businesses with educational resources, policy research, and strategic legal analysis as a foundation for building robust food economies. For more information about IFAI, visit

Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition

Logo of Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition showing stylized tomato

The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition (GSCN) is an independent nonprofit research organization providing research, evaluation, and partnership in nutrition-related programs including childhood obesity prevention, food insecurity, and local food systems. GSCN is a remote team geographically dispersed throughout the U.S., with strong roots in Omaha, Nebraska. For more information on GSCN, visit

This material is based upon work that is supported by the Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.