02 Sep PHIT and SFIA Expand GO! Grants
PHIT America and the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) announced that more than 50,000 U.S. children are being introduced to an active, healthy lifestyle through GO! Grants. These GO! Grants are going to 156 school-based programs in 22 states throughout the U.S. and funded by some of the leading sports & fitness brands in the industry.
The purpose of GO! Grants is to jumpstart increased physical activity in schools, increasing physical literacy skills, health and academic performance among students aged 5-12.
“Last September, we announced the Increase Participation Plan. We know our GO! Grants can be a great catalyst to increase the number of kids who are active and playing sports while improving the health of children throughout America,” says Tom Cove, CEO of the SFIA. “Twenty companies in the sports & fitness industry have come together and invested in programs through our GO! Grants, which is getting children off the couch and active. The ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ is a huge threat to the health of our country, our children and our industry. We are very excited with our first-year results and look forward to expanding this critical program in 2016.”
Participation exceeds target
“The early results for these GO! Grants look extremely positive,” notes Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America. “We told the industry we would get 10,500 kids active with the funds from sponsors. We will get more than 50,000 school-age children active. We told the industry the cost to get a child active would be around $40 per child. We will be under $10 per child. Our partner Kids in the Game is really doing a phenomenal job. They outperformed even my expectations. These new participants in sports & fitness activities used to be sedentary. They will be new consumers for our industry, as well.”
PHIT America and its partner Kids in the Game announced plans to distribute much-needed funds to deserving schools in the U.S., which have requested financial help to improve their P.E. programs and school activity plans.
Beginning this school year, now underway in many parts of the country, nearly 160 grants will be distributed to schools in 22 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin). Some of the cities which are benefiting from GO! Grants include Atlanta, GA: Des Moines, IA; Indianapolis, IN; Lubbock, TX; Chicago, IL; Van Vuys, CA, Maitland, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; San Antonio, TX; Rochester, NY; Baltimore, MD; Richmond, VA; Pittsburgh, PA, among others.
The grants range in size from $1,000 to $5,000 per school. With this initial round of GO! Grants, more than 50,000 children will be impacted by the grants, which are the cornerstone of the industry’s ‘Increase Participation Plan.’
“The schools we are supporting are hungry for support,” said Suzie Nixon, Executive Director of Kids in the Game. “We received so many great applications. We had to say “Sorry” this year, but hopefully we can support them in the future. The applications which received a grant are super excited about getting their kids physically active.”
Grant winners are extremely excited to have this support for their programs at their schools.
“We are so incredibly grateful to have received a GO! Grant from PHIT America to support ‘Tiger Miles Club’, a before school mileage program, at Rolling Hills Elementary School for the 2015-2016 year,” says Dr. Megan Babkes Stellino, Rolling Hills Elementary School (Aurora, CO). “This funding makes it possible to provide ‘Tiger Miles Club’ to as many children as are interested in grades K-5 to get their bodies moving for 45 minutes, two mornings per week, before school! We know that ‘Tiger Miles Club’ will make a positive impact on not only the children, but also the school and community it serves. This GO! Grants award makes that all possible!!!!”
‘Sitting is the new smoking’
The ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ is having a major impact on the sports industry, as 83 million Americans are ‘total couch potatoes’ and this number is increasing, according to Baugh. More and more children are inactive.
“Overall, sports and fitness activities are losing out to other lifestyle activities,” says Baugh. “This is a national team effort and we invite companies and organizations in the private and public sector to join us as we educate America about the power and importance of physical activity.”
This type of feedback reinforces the importance of the work of PHIT America.
“When medical doctors are saying that ‘sitting is the new smoking,’ and physical inactivity is being labeled as the biggest threat to public health in the 21st Century, it’s quite clear that every child in America needs and deserves to be taught about the importance of a physically active lifestyle,” says Mike May, PHIT America’s Director of Communications. “School P.E. programs are the perfect setting for inspiring a nation to perspire.”
“We at PHIT America are now talking to many major general consumer companies about helping our cause and campaign. Everyone is realizing we must get kids more active for their personal health and the health of our country,” adds Baugh.
Major industry sponsors
The major sponsors of the GO! Grants program to date are Augusta Sportswear, Brooks, Everlast, Franklin Sports, Head/Penn Racquet Sports, Johnson Health Tech North America, Les Mills, Life Fitness, Mizuno USA, New Balance, Nike, Rawlings, Reebok, Riddell, SKLZ, Speedo, The Sports Authority, Sports & Fitness Industry Association, Under Armour, and Wilson Sporting Goods.
All schools receiving GO! Grants are required to register with the Let’s Move! Active Schools program for support that will help sustain their various programs into the future. Let’s Move! Active Schools is a comprehensive program that empowers schools to create active environments that enable all students to get moving and reach their full potential.
The GO! Grants are also catalyzing partnerships at all levels, as local organizations, program partners, and the school communities are working together to bring physical activity opportunities into the lives of young school-age children.
Founded in January 2013, PHIT America is a non-profit campaign focused on overcoming the severe ramifications of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ through three strategic approaches – education, supporting school-based activity programs, and advocating – which will get Americans, especially our youth, more active, fit and healthy.