GENYOUth raised more than $2 million at its annual gala to help support youth wellness programs such as Fuel Up to Play 60 that was founded as a partnership between America’s dairy farmers and the National Football League (NFL).
The gala is GENYOUth’s largest fundraiser of the year and is underwritten through third-party sponsorships, table sales and in-person donations. Gala proceeds will support Fuel Up to Play 60 – GENYOUth’s flagship program – and its 2019 student ambassador summit, student/teacher summit scholarships and young social entrepreneurship efforts.
Fuel Up to Play 60 focuses on improving nutrition and physical activity in schools, including the consumption of low-fat and fat-free dairy. It is one of the nation’s largest in-school wellness efforts, reaching 73,000 schools and 38 million students nationwide since its 2007 launch by the National Dairy Council and NFL.
“GENYOUth is the absolute right program for dairy farmers to be involved with,” said Marilyn Hershey, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer and chair of Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff. “Its annual gala raises funds that support dairy farmers’ youth wellness programs. This follows our checkoff strategy of working with others who share our goals and can bring their resources to the table to extend our commitment.”
PepsiCo was honored with the 2018 Vanguard Award, given annually to the organization or individual whose commitment, passion and support enables GENYOUth to empower students to be change agents for health, wellness and academic achievement. PepsiCo made it possible to increase access to more than 5 million school breakfast meals around the country and to translate Fuel Up to Play 60 into Spanish. The company also provided NFL FLAG football kits to more than 27,000 students in summer feeding programs.
During the gala, PepsiCo announced a renewed 2019 commitment to GENYOUth totaling $1 million to grow school breakfast participation in high-need communities and to further enhance the FUTP 60 en Espanol program and student ambassador network.
This year’s gala was themed “Everyday Superheroes,” and key leaders who have supported Fuel Up to Play 60 were recognized, including: New York school program advisor Yesenia Pion, Ohio State University professor and pediatrician Dr. Robert Murray, pro football hall-of0famer Thurman Thomas and National Dairy Council president Jean Ragalie-Carr. Additionally, several Fuel Up to Play 60 student ambassadors were recognized for their commitment to improving the nutrition and physical activity environment in their schools.
Serving as keynote speakers for the gala were New York Yankees star Aaron Judge, two-time Olympic gold medalist boxer Claressa Shields and former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who spoke on a panel moderated by Nate Burleson of the NFL and CBS networks.
“We are so thankful to everyone who joined us on behalf of our nation’s youth,” GENYOUth chief executive officer Alexis Glick said. “We are committed to making sure this next generation has the resources they need to thrive and to help empower youth to lead the way forward for healthier, high-achieving futures. Together, as athletes, executives, farmers, team members and individuals, we demonstrated that our collective strength is far greater when we work side by side to equip, engage and empower our nation's youth.”