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Jun 24, 2010

General Mills Foundation helps Washington, D.C. schools combat childhood obesity

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Cooperative effort provides $200,000 for fitness and nutrition programs

The General Mills Foundation is helping wage a battle against the growing rate of childhood obesity in the nation’s capital by providing a $100,000 matching grant to support the United Way of the National Capital Area’s (UWNCA) Child Wellness Initiative.

The Initiative, a joint venture with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Commission on Food and Nutrition, promotes physical fitness and nutrition among youth in the Washington D.C. area, home to one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the nation. In keeping with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, these schools will be certified in the USDA’s Healthier U.S. School Challenge.

“Although the rates of childhood obesity are increasing at alarming rates, organizations like the UWNCA are mobilizing to face this challenge,” says Ellen Goldberg Luger, executive director of the General Mills Foundation. “The Child Wellness Initiative is creating fun and engaging ways to provide youth and their families with the tools they need to lead healthy, balanced and active lifestyles.”

The $100,000 General Mills Foundation matching grant is part of a $400,000 four-year partnership with the UWNCA to promote increased awareness of the importance of regular physical exercise and healthy eating habits among youth. This year’s co-grant with the UWNCA will provide a total of $200,000 to three D.C. area public schools and 10 public charter schools in the 2010/2011 school year.

This partnership represents one of the many child health commitments of the General Mills Foundation. Earlier this week, the Foundation, in partnership with the American Dietetic Association, and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, announced the 2010 recipients of $10,000 Champions for Healthy Kids grants. The grants, totaling $500,000, support 50 nonprofits, schools and community organizations across the United States in developing creative ways to help youth incorporate physical fitness and good nutrition into their daily lives. Since 2002, General Mills has invested $19.5 million in youth nutrition and fitness programs that have served more than 4.8 million children nationwide.

Also this week, General Mills representatives were on hand Wednesday, as First Lady Michelle Obama announced the newly expanded Presidential Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, which now includes a focus on healthy eating as well as active lifestyles. General Mills has been a partner in this effort for eight years.

"This has been an extraordinary week for the General Mills Foundation as we recognize the great work being done at all levels to provide our youth with a healthy start in life," says Goldberg Luger. “We are honored to be aligned with the Presidential Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, the UWNCA in Washington D.C., as well as the dozens of Champions for Healthy Kids projects being implemented by community organizations across the nation. This is important work which will yield healthy dividends for our children for years to come.”

About the UWNCA
The UWNCA is the largest non-governmental health and human services fund provider in the Washington metro area and has been bringing together people and resources to improve lives for more than 30 years. UWNCA is a community impact leader that raises funds to achieve bold goals related to health, education and income. The annual campaign disperses tens of millions in funds to more than 900 nonprofit partners certified by UWNCA that provide health and human service programs to Washington area residents. For more information about UWNCA, visit www.unitedwaynca.org

About the General Mills Foundation
The mission of the General Mills Foundation, celebrating more than 50 years of giving, is to nourish communities.  In fiscal 2010, General Mills awarded more than $100 million to communities across the country, representing more than 5 percent of company pretax profits. Of the total, the Foundation contributed $22 million in grants in the targeted areas of hunger and nutrition wellness, education, social services, and arts and culture. In addition, 82 percent of employees volunteer in the communities where they live and work. Information on the General Mills Foundation and the programs it supports are available at http://www.generalmills.com/en/Responsibility/Community_Engagement.aspx

For more information, contact:

Heidi Geller or Donna Svendsen
Heidi.geller@genmills.com or donna.svendsen@genmills.com
763-764-6364 or 763-764-4150