The General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids Program recently awarded a half-million dollars in grants to 50 community-based organizations across the U.S. with unique programs focused on youth nutrition and fitness.

Each of the non-profits, schools or other organizations received a $10,000 grant for programs that incorporate a fitness and nutrition component, and operate with the guidance of a dietetic professional. Grant recipients this year traveled to General Mills corporate headquarters in Minneapolis for a two-day workshop to share and learn best practices for operating their programs.

The Champions for Healthy Kids initiative is a partnership of the General Mills Foundation, the American Dietetic Association Foundation (ADAF) and the President™s Council on Physical Fitness. Since 2002, General Mills has invested more than $11 million in overall youth nutrition and fitness programs that have served more than 2 million children nationwide.

This year™s grant recipients serve a broad spectrum of children cutting across racial, ethnic, geographic and economic lines. They include:

  • The Spirit Lake Tribe Special Diabetes Program in Fort Totten, N. D., which targets American Indian girls between the ages of 11 and 15. The cardiovascular education program is designed to improve students™ heart health, increase endurance and provide exposure to a variety of aerobic exercises. Students also learn how to maintain a healthy weight and cook healthy foods. The Spirit Lake Reservation is a small, rural community in northeast North Dakota.
  • The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network™s health and fitness initiative called Families, Food, and Fun, which provides low-income families in Verona, Va., with training to improve nutrition and overall health. Families learn about food selection, preparation, nutrition, physical fitness as well as basic life skills. Parents learn in the classroom along with their children. In addition, the program supplies each family with basic cookware, healthy recipes and sports equipment.
  • The Champions for Kids with Disabilities: A Physical Activity and Nutrition Education Mentoring Program offered through the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The program serves disabled young people between the ages of 5-18 by pairing them with mentors who help teach them how to live a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and nutrition education.
  • City Harvest™s health and fitness program in New York is a unique blend of learning, investigation and performance. The Fresh Beat: Youth Nutrition, Film, and Movement Project, aims to increase physical activity in young people from ages 12-18. The program incorporates nutrition, cooking and fitness for young adults. Students also create both a movement-based performance piece and a documentary film that explore food, fitness, and environmental factors that effect overall physical health.

Each year, we™re honored to help support some of the nation™s best and most innovative programs that focus on the important work of teaching children how to live healthy and active lifestyles, said Ellen Goldberg Luger, executive director of the General Mills Foundation and a General Mills vice president. We know from numerous studies that a child™s diet and level of activity affects his or her school performance, mental and emotional well- being and long-term physical health.

An additional component of the Champions for Healthy Kids program includes sponsorship of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards (PALA) in Minneapolis and other select cities as well as the development of nutrition and fitness mentoring models.

In May, General Mills launched the Healthy Communities grants program in Washington, D.C. when the company, in conjunction with the Washington D.C. Mayor™s Commission on Food and Nutrition, announced the first four recipients of $100,000 in grants. The program is being piloted in Washington, D.C., which has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the nation.

Information on the General Mills Champions program, grant applications, best practices and model programs that can be adopted by any organization are available at Additional information on the Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards can be found at

The American Dietetic Association Foundation is the philanthropic arm of American Dietetic Association. It is a 501(c)(3) charity devoted exclusively to nutrition and dietetics. The Foundation funds scholarships and awards, education and research projects, and ADA strategic initiatives that promote optimal nutrition health and well-being of the public. It is the largest provider of scholarships and awards in the field of dietetics.

The mission of the General Mills Foundation, celebrating more than 50 years of giving, is to nourish communities. In fiscal 2007, General Mills awarded $82 million to communities across the country, representing more than 5 percent of company pretax profits that year. Of the total, the Foundation contributed more than $20 million in grants in the targeted areas of youth nutrition and fitness, social services, education, and arts and culture.

General Mills
Heidi Geller, 763-764-6364
Donna Svendsen, 763-764-4150