GSK's $5M to Philly groups helping kids eat better

GlaxoSmithKline, which has about 1,000 employees in the Navy Yard, said Thursday it would give $5 million to nonprofit organizations with programs designed to help children in Philadelphia eat healthier food and exercise more.

The Philadelphia Foundation will administer the IMPACT grants and the award goes to "Get HYPE Philly!," which is a collective of 10 nonprofits headed by The Food Trust. HYPE stands for "Healthy You. Positive Energy." The website is gethypephilly.com.

The members of the collective, with their Twitter handle, are:

  • The Food Trust, @TheFoodTrust, convening Collective partners and coordinating Get HYPE Philly! activities, and empowering young people to be role models for healthy change in their schools and communities through the HYPE (Healthy You. Positive Energy.) youth leadership program
  • Greener Partners, @GreenerPartners, engaging kids in gardening and nutrition education, including at its Guild House West urban farm
  • Common Market, @CommonMkt, facilitating access to locally and sustainably grown food, and increasing participation in youth leadership programs at the East Park Revitalization Alliance
  • The Village of Arts and Humanities, @VillagePhilly, providing hands-on educational experiences in urban farming and nutrition-based activities
  • Norris Square Neighborhood Project, @iLoveNSNP, helping students become leaders for a healthier and more sustainable community through its Garden Education Program
  • The Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA, @pfvYMCA, preparing kids as leaders for fitness and health through physical activity programming
  • The Free Library of Philadelphia, @FreeLibrary, engaging students through its Culinary Literacy Center and branch-based teen mentoring program
  • Philadelphia Youth Network, @PYNinc, connecting kids with work opportunities where they can model and lead healthy activities while learning work-readiness skills
  • The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation, @PhilaTEC, supporting students in entrepreneurship and creating youth-led businesses, such as healthy snacks for farmers’ markets and corner stores
  • Equal Measure, @EqMeasure, evaluating and enhancing Get HYPE! Philly’s social impact throughout the three-year grant

The announcement was made at The Free Library's fourth-floor renovated meeting room, which has a wonderful view of the city skyline. Across the hall is a new teaching kitchen to provide space for Philly kids to learn how to cook, with the hope being they will dish up for themselves and families healthy meals to help cut into the city's obesity rate.

(PhillyPharma readily admits to bias in this case, but Inquirer colleague Maureen Fitzgerald has done fabulous work in this realm. Her most-recent story on this, from Thursday's Inquirer, is here.)

“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,” said Donna Altenpohl, GSK's vice president for U.S. public policy. “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.”

Altenpohl was among the 300 area employees involved in fast-tracking the development, testing and manufacturing of GSK's Ebola vaccine candidate that was started with the National Institutes of Health. An August Inquirer story on that is here.

Other speakers included Mayor Nutter, Larry Beaser, a Blank Rome partner and chairman of the board of managers for the Philadelphia Foundation, and Yael Lehmann, executive director of The Food Trust.

As news conference events go, this one was different in a couple ways. First, Joie Kathos, a West Philly-based dancer/singer-songwriter, and the Randolph High School Cheer Squad performed. Second, one of the cheers involved a healthy burrito, we think. Finally, two members of the staff at Greener Partners, Rania Campbell-Cobb and Anna Swanson, were on the sidewalk outside The Free Library, giving gardening tips to anyone who was itching to get started on spring. Friday's forecast of more snow was ignored.