GuideWell Issues Statewide Challenge for Ideas to End Food Insecurity in Florida


ORLANDO – More than 2.8 million people in Florida, including 800,000 children and 500,000 seniors, are food insecure—meaning they are unable to access sufficient and nutritious food for an active life. That is why GuideWell has partnered with Synapse to issue a statewide challenge to all entrepreneurs, nonprofits, innovators and organizations—pitch us your innovative ideas for ending food insecurity in your community. The Block by Block Food Insecurity Challenge will award $40,000 in prize monies to organizations with sustainable, innovative approaches for reducing or eliminating food insecurity in their local communities across Florida.

“There are many factors that cause a family or senior to become food insecure such as under-employment, lack of access to healthy foods within a community, limited transportation options or unexpected financial burdens. Many people have to make the difficult choice between paying the bills and buying food,” said Kirstie McCool, executive director of GuideWell Innovation. “Florida is filled with creative innovators, entrepreneurs, community leaders and passionate citizens. We are issuing the food insecurity challenge to tap into their innovative minds to find the best solutions to make every Florida community food secure.”

The Block by Block Food Insecurity Challenge asks participants to address one of four primary areas:

  • Availability – Providing a reliable supply chain to increase availability, affordability and sustainability of the food supply to insecure communities.
  • Access – Improving accessibility in “food deserts” to fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy whole foods commonly found in large grocery stores and farmers’ markets.
  • Utilization – Properly educating and training families on healthy food alternatives, proper nutrition, reduction of food waste and preparation and storage of healthy foods to help build a strong relationship with fresh food.
  • Resilience – Mitigating and recovering from unexpected forces that impact a family’s access, utilization and availability to stable food sources such as weather, illness or economic loss.

GuideWell partnered with the Synapse to help execute the challenge. Applicants will be scored against pre-determined criteria evaluating the viability and potential of their solution by a selection committee composed of GuideWell executives, industry experts and potential funders.

Applicants showing the most potential will be selected to compete in one of four regional pitch events taking place in Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami, Sept. 9-12. The top-three ideas from each region will be invited to a Food Insecurity Challenge statewide showcase on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the GuideWell Innovation Center in Orlando’s Lake Nona Medical City. The challenge showcase will kick off the Block by Block Forum that begins Thursday, Oct. 17, an invitation-only, collaborative event bringing together experts and stakeholders from across the state and nation to focus on building food secure communities in Florida.

Applicants must submit their food insecurity solutions by Aug. 15. Additional information on the Block by Block Food Insecurity Challenge and a link to apply is available at

About GuideWell

GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation (GuideWell) is a not-for-profit mutual holding company and the parent to a family of forward-thinking companies focused on transforming health care. The GuideWell organization includes the leading health insurance company in Florida; a portfolio of clinical delivery organizations; a health care consumer marketing, sales and engagement company; a provider of administrative services to state and federal health care programs; and a leader in risk adjustment and population care management. The GuideWell enterprise serves 27 million people in 35 states and is headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Christie Hyde DeNave,, 407/833-7893 office