MAY 16, 2012

Contact: Ali Wimer (267.295.3859 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Grant Helps Bring Vegetable Gardens to Philadelphia City Schools

PHILADELPHIA – The General Mills Foundation named Health Promotion Council (HPC), an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), one of ten awardees nationwide as a $50,000 2012 Champions for Healthy Kids grant. The grant will fund expansion for HPC’s GREENS program, which plans to create and expand gardens in the yards and on the rooftops of schools in low-income communities across Philadelphia. The funding will also expand GREENS programming to include more caregiver outreach through garden education and family nights. The program aims to engage up to 2,000 Philadelphia school children in nutrition education and physical activity through hands-on gardening.

Champions for Healthy Kids, launched in partnership with the American Dietetic Association Foundation and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, provides grants to nonprofits, schools and community organizations to develop creative ways to help kids of all ages incorporate physical fitness and good nutrition into their daily lives. As part of the program’s 10 year anniversary, 10 ‘best of the best’ legacy award recipients were selected this year from previous Champions for Healthy Kids grantees. Each organization was awarded $50,000 to continue their proven programming to improve nutrition and physical fitness behaviors among youth.

“We’re thrilled to receive the Champions for Healthy Kids grant from the General Mills Foundation,” says Lauren Nocito, assistant director of Community Services at HPC. “Thanks to this grant, we can make our program more dynamic by providing hands-on garden opportunities for students and, in turn, promote health and fitness.” The idea for GREENSplus, which stands for Gardening to Revive the Environment and Educate about Nutrition in the Schoolyard-- Plus Family Events to Inspire Increased Wellness, began in 2011 through the existing HPC program PA Nutrition Education TRACKS. Funded by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, PA Nutrition Education TRACKS provides nutrition education to partner schools. The GREENSplus program expands nutrition education to a child’s entire family through hands-on, family-oriented activities such as workshops focusing on cooking and gardening, family nights and exercise nights.

“Philadelphia youth are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, chronic disease and limited access to healthy eating options,” says Vanessa Briggs, executive director of HPC. “With the funding from General Mills, GREENSplus can build on HPC’s current nutrition education programming by connecting students to the source of their food, exposing them to the food system, and providing knowledge and skills to develop healthy eating and active living preferences.”

“For the past 10 years, the General Mills Foundation has worked closely with nonprofit organizations across the U.S. to increase physical activity and good nutrition among youth,” said Ellen Goldberg Luger, General Mills vice president and executive director of the General Mills Foundation. “Health Promotion Council has proven through its programming that it knows how to creatively engage youth, getting them excited about making healthy choices. They also host a variety of family-oriented activities, which we know helps contribute to positive, lasting change.”


About HPC

Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania (HPC) is a non-profit corporation organized in 1981. HPC's mission is to promote health and prevent disease, especially among those at greatest risk, through education, outreach and advocacy. Its unique programs advocating positive health behaviors, together with its innovative work with minority groups have advanced the field of health promotion in Southeastern Pennsylvania and across the nation. For more information, visit

About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce. PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit

About the General Mills Foundation

The mission of the General Mills Foundation, celebrating 58 years of giving, is to nourish communities. Continuing its tradition of generous giving and global community support, General Mills contributed nearly $120 million to charitable causes in fiscal 2011—up 18 percent from the previous year. The Foundation invests in and collaborates with community organizations and programs that unleash the power of food across a spectrum of social issues, including hunger, nutrition and healthy, active lifestyles. In addition, 83 percent of U.S. employees volunteer. To learn more about the ways General Mills nourishes lives through philanthropy and community engagement, please join us on Facebook by visiting More information on the General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids initiative, grant applications, and best practices that can be adopted by any organization can be found at: