NFL, dairy council renew commitment to youth program

National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition to join Hometown Grants to help schools implement presidential fitness program.

As part of their efforts to improve youth health and wellness, the National Football League (NFL) and its partners announced this week a renewed commitment to the “Hometown Grants” program. Developed by the NFL and Fuel Up to Play 60 in 2014, the initiative provides grants to support physical activity and nutrition programs in school districts in all 32 NFL markets.

This year, the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition will join the partnership, which, to date, has provided nearly $1 million to schools across the country.

“We are pleased to renew our commitment to the Hometown Grants program, which has been an important part of our work to improve the health and wellness of youth,” said Anna Isaacson, NFL senior vice president of social responsibility. “We look forward to continue working with our 32 clubs and our partners to make sure all kids have the chance to ‘PLAY 60’ and empower them to lead healthy lives.”

The renewed commitment was announced Sept. 7 at an event at Allendale Elementary School, where the partners presented officials from Colorado’s Jefferson County School District with a $10,000 Hometown Grant and $30,000 in additional equipment and resources for its student programs and facilities.

The event featured:

- A special appearance by singer, songwriter and founder of the M.A.D. Kids program Jordin Sparks;

- A PLAY 60 clinic led by Sparks, former Denver Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg, Broncos mascot Miles and Broncos cheerleaders, and

- An assembly with more than 200 students focused on the importance of healthy eating and staying active.

Through the Hometown Grants program, NFL teams and state/regional dairy organizations identify deserving schools in their communities to receive funding to help facilitate sustainable physical activity and healthy eating programs for students. Since 2014, the program has provided more than 700 schools with funds and resources, resulting in more than 1 million students staying physically active and making healthier food choices.

“Mobilizing communities to advocate for and implement healthy changes in schools nationwide requires collaboration at the local and national level,” Mark Leitner, executive vice president of Fuel Up to Play 60, said. “Fuel Up to Play 60 is making an impact in schools through the unwavering support of the NFL and leaders like the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Working together, we are able to empower students, teachers and entire communities to go from zero to 60 every day by fueling up with nutritious foods and being physically active for at least 60 minutes.”

This year, the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition will provide the partnership with resources such as assessment software, training tools and student recognition to enable schools to implement the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, the nation’s youth fitness education and assessment program. The donation is being made as part of the Foundation’s #0to60 campaign honoring the 60th Anniversary of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, which recently launched the new “#0to60” anthem, featuring Sparks, in partnership with Sparks’ M.A.D. Kids program.

Chris Watts, executive director of National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, said the foundation is proud to join the NFL and Fuel Up to Play 60 to improve the health and well-being of the nation’s youth. “We’re also excited to engage with health and wellness leaders, like Jordin Sparks, to empower students to be fit for life.”

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