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General Mills Foundation celebrates Champions for Healthy Kids' 10th anniversary

Along with Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, awards $500,000 in 'best of the best' grants

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The General Mills Foundation, in collaboration with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, today announced the recipients of its 2012 Champions for Healthy Kids grants.

As part of the program’s 10 year anniversary, 10 ‘best of the best’ legacy award recipients were selected from previous Champions for Healthy Kids grantees. Each organization was awarded $50,000 to continue their proven programming to improve nutrition and physical fitness behaviors among youth.

 Champions for Healthy Kids provides grants to nonprofits, schools and community organizations to develop creative ways to help kids of all ages incorporate physical fitness and good nutrition into their daily lives. Over the last 10 years of Champions for Healthy Kids, the General Mills Foundation has amassed key insights related to addressing childhood obesity. Key indicators of a successful childhood obesity program have been found to include:

  • Parental involvement
  • Organizational collaboration
  • Direct engagement with youth during the planning process
  • Close collaboration with teachers and other community professionals 
  •  Communication among all parties with a vested interest in youth nutrition and fitness

 With these learnings in mind, Champions for Healthy Kids targets grassroots efforts that develop creative ways – such as dance, karate memberships and cooking classes – to help youth adopt physically active lifestyles and balanced diets. In total, the General Mills Foundation’s Champions for Healthy Kids initiative has awarded more than $20 million in grants to organizations across the United States through its annual grant program and through other youth nutrition and fitness programs serving more than 5 million children nationwide.

“For the past 10 years, the General Mills Foundation has worked closely with nonprofit organizations across the U.S. to increase physical activity and good nutrition among youth,” said Ellen Goldberg Luger, General Mills vice president and executive director of the General Mills Foundation. “We are excited to use the on-the-ground insights we’ve gathered from our work with more than 400 community organizations to better shape our future childhood obesity efforts and make an even greater impact.”

The goal of the General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids grants is to encourage communities in the United States to improve the eating and physical activity patterns of young people aged 2 to 18. Grants have been awarded to nonprofit organizations and agencies working with communities that demonstrate the greatest need and likelihood of sustainable impact on young people’s nutrition and activity levels through innovative programs.

“Throughout our 10 year partnership with the General Mills Foundation, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has witnessed, firsthand, the significant accomplishments made toward improving the health of our children through the Champions for Healthy Kids program,” said registered dietitian and Academy Foundation Chair Barbara J. Ivens. “As food and nutrition experts, registered dietitians are on the forefront of improving the health of our children, and while there is still work yet to be done, we are excited to build upon this momentum and continue to make real progress to tackle this complex issue.”

The General Mills Foundation has awarded 450 Champions for Healthy Kids grants since 2002. Today, nearly all of the grant winners continue to provide nutrition education and fitness activities for children. Approximately 98 percent of past Champions for Healthy Kids programs continue to provide nutrition education and 94 percent continue to offer fitness activities.

The 10 2012 Champions for Healthy Kids recipients are:

  • America On Track (Santa Ana, Calif.)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County (Billings, Mont.)
  • Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi (Hernando, Miss.)
  • Girls on the Run – Chicago (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Health Promotion Council (Philadelphia, Pa. 
  • National Indian Youth Leadership Program (Albuquerque, N.M.)
  • Rio Bravo Wildlife Institute (Brownsville, Texas)
  • Treasure Coast Food Bank, Inc. (Ft. Pierce, Fla.)
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore (Baltimore, Md.)
  • YMCA Southern Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.)

About the General Mills Foundation
The mission of the General Mills Foundation, celebrating 58 years of giving, is to nourish communities. Continuing its tradition of generous giving and global community support, General Mills contributed nearly $120 million to charitable causes in fiscal 2011—up 18 percent from the previous year. The Foundation invests in and collaborates with community organizations and programs that unleash the power of food across a spectrum of social issues, including hunger, nutrition and healthy, active lifestyles. In addition, 83 percent of U.S. employees volunteer. 

To learn more about the ways General Mills nourishes lives through philanthropy and community engagement, please join us on Facebook .

Kris Patton
General Mills

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