Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation Awards $243,840 in Grants for Access to Healthy Food

Atlanta Daybook - The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation has awarded six grants totaling $243,840 to support innovative approaches to give more children and families access to healthy, affordable food.

The investments are part of AFYF’s ongoing work to reduce childhood obesity and improve youth fitness in Georgia. A new AFYF-funded study reveals 2 million Georgia residents, including 500,000 children, live in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of diet-related illnesses and insufficient access to grocery stores with fresh food.

“The innovative work of our partners will connect more Georgia children and families to the fruits and vegetables grown by Georgia farmers,” said Penelope McPhee, president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “We get a win-win, with more support for local agriculture and better health for children and families.”

Addressing multiple needs, the grants support a new healthy vending system for after-school programs, provide salad bars to schools, help Georgia farmers process food for sale to schools, and expand the services of Fulton Fresh, a mobile farmers’ market launched this summer.

Since 2005, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, an affiliated fund of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, has invested $17 million to improve youth fitness and reduce childhood obesity in Georgia.

AFYF is supporting a November 2, 2011, Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series program that features innovative remedies for food desert neighborhoods, including food trucks, street food and corner stores. The program, “Street Food: Attacking Obesity and Wiping Out Food Deserts One City Block At a Time,” can be viewed via a live webcast at 6 p.m. (ET) at http://blankfoundation.org/speaker-series.

AFYF’s latest round of awards includes grants to:

Georgia Organics

$122,450 to increase access to affordable, healthy food for all Georgia families through a series of school and community-based activities and policy changes.

Let’s Move Salad Bars

$42,500 to provide salad bars to at least 15 Georgia schools and training for food-service staff on salad bar operations, with an emphasis on Hall County Schools and Atlanta Public Schools.

Fulton Fresh Mobile Farmers’ Market

$25,000 for the mobile farmers’ market program to expand its food distribution and nutritional education services from four sites to eight sites in 2012.

Georgia Tech

$24,500 to carry out Phase I in development of a food-processing cooperative that enables small and medium-size growers to gain access to the distribution chain and deliver locally grown produce to schools.

Truly Living Well

$15,000 to construct a pavilion at the Wheat Street Garden for training and education programs and for farmers market expansion. In partnership with Whole Foods, AFYF also has provided Truly Living Well with 1,000 bio-degradable shopping bags made from bamboo.

Metro Atlanta YMCA

$14,390 to launch healthy Falcons Fitness Snack Zone programs using “smart” vending technology at two Falcons Fitness Zone locations, the Blank Family YMCA and the East Lake Family YMCA.

Other Information:

About The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation:
Investing across Georgia, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation helps nonprofit organizations reduce childhood obesity and improve youth fitness. The foundation was established in 1985 to serve as the philanthropic arm of the Atlanta Falcons. Since Arthur Blank acquired the Atlanta Falcons in 2002, the foundation has grown to be the largest owner-funded foundation in the National Football League, providing more than $17 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the state of Georgia.