Who’s Behind a $5 Million Local Grant for Teen Nutrition & Exercise?

Finally, some encouraging news about youth in Philadelphia!

According to a recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report, Philadelphia is reporting a 4.7 percent decline in obesity rates among K-12 age children. Not only that, but the largest rates of decline in the city are being reported for children of color. Although some other cities are seeing declines as well, very few of them have made a dent in the children of color demographic like Philly has.

Feeding off this positive and healthy energy, two local funders have teamed up to kick in $5 million more to help Philadelphia teens eat better and exercise more. The two funders are GSK and The Philadelphia Foundation, and the grant recipient is Get HYPE Philly!, which is a collective of 10 nonprofits led by The Food Trust.

“Healthy communities are the backbone of strong sustainable societies. That is why GSK has a long history of giving to the cities where we work and where we live,” Donna Altenpohl, vice president of U.S. Public Policy at GSK said in a press release. “The $5 million IMPACT Grant will amplify the great work already underway by these exemplary local nonprofits to help middle and high school students embrace healthy lifestyles and lead the way for a healthier Philadelphia.”

The Food Trust also has the support of Get Healthy Philly, which was launched by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in 2010. That partnership enlisted the help of over 900 retailers to promote healthy foods, pushed a fruits-and-vegetables discount incentive program, implemented city agency nutrition standards, and mounted a multimedia campaign. Meanwhile Philadelphia public schools have removed sugary drinks from vending machines, banned deep fryers in cafeterias, and implemented new wellness policies.

This recent $5 million grant is from a fund established by GSK in 2011 to benefit young people in Philadelphia, which is administered by the Philadelphia Foundation. This is what’s known as a GSK Impact Grant. Each year, up to 10 nonprofit organizations in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties receive IMPACT Awards and $40,000. Approximately 150 local nonprofits have received around $6 million combined since the program began. Health, particularly obesity in North Philadelphia, has been on the forefront of GSK’s radar for a while now.

Related: What Pharmaceutical Giant GSK Has Been Up to in Philly

HYPE stands for “Healthy You, Positive Energy,” and the current focus of this program is on underserved areas of North Philadelphia. The main goals of HYPE are reducing access to unhealthy foods, increasing awareness of and access to healthy foods and beverages, and increasing physical activity. The Get Hype Philly! Member organizations are the Food Trust, Greener Partners, Common Market, the Village of Arts and Humanities, Norris Square Neighborhood Project, the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Youth Network, the Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation, and Equal Measure.

To date, more than 100 public schools in the School District of Philadelphia have established HYPE Youth Wellness Councils. GSK expects to reach over 50,000 young Philadelphians with this programming by 2017.

To learn more about GSK giving in Philadelphia, read our profile of GlaxoSmithKline U.S. Community Partnerships: Philadelphia Grants and familiarize yourself with the funder’s online grant request system.