Check Out the Safeway Foundation's Childhood Obesity Initiatives

In the not-too-distant past, the overweight child was a rarity. Frighteningly, we now have a situation where one in three American children is classified as obese or overweight. Moreover, children are increasingly developing conditions previously associated with adults (such as hypertension, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and joint pain). It is rightly a matter of national concern.

The Safeway Foundation and its partner, Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland, have shown their support for this crucial issue by awarding $3 million for grassroots projects addressing obesity among children. An example of a project funded through this program is a $71,000 grant to UC Berkeley School of Public Health for an online referral system. This system enables health providers to refer children with high obesity risk to appropriate organizations and monitor their progress.

The Safeway Foundation, headed by Larree Renda, executive vice president of Safeway, is a significant funder. Safeway and the Safeway Foundation give away $200 million in grants and product donations on average each year. While priority areas that include health and human services, hunger relief, education, and assisting those with disabilities, Safeway takes childhood obesity particularly seriously. It devoted $4 million in 2012 to children's nutrition and fitness initiatives through its education program.

Safeway grants are awarded through three mechanisms: local community funds, requests via corporate employees, and national funds. National and/or multiregional grants are reviewed quarterly, and local grants are reviewed biannually. Grants are relatively small ($10,000 to $25,000) for first-time grantees, but it's worth noting that once you have a history with the foundation, larger grants are available.

To be considered for funding, your nonprofit should be located in an area where Safeway operates stores. Funds are limited to the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Washington, D.C., and Wyoming. If your nonprofit meets the geographical requirement, this foundation is another potential funder to consider for child obesity projects. Further information on the Safeway Foundation and its application process can be found here.