Boys & Girls Clubs of America and WellPoint Foundation Announce $10 million National Partnership to Improve Youth Health Investment extends support for award-winning youth health program for next five years

ATLANTA, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) today announced that the WellPoint Foundation has committed $10 million to serve as a Great Futures signature partner of BGCA's healthy lifestyles platform. Through WellPoint Foundation's significant investment, the partnership will advance BGCA's efforts to combat the growing rate of childhood obesity among our nation's youth through the holistic health and wellness program, Triple Play.

Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul, is BGCA's proven health and wellness program co-sponsored by the WellPoint Foundation and founding partner The Coca-Cola Company. Since launching in 2005, Triple Play has made more than 7.6 million connections with kids to share the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition through the program's three components focused on mind, body and soul. WellPoint Foundation's five-year $10 million commitment builds upon a longstanding relationship between the organizations and will help bring critical nutrition and exercise programming to more communities and Clubs throughout the nation.

"Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an essential component for youth to achieve great futures," said Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "WellPoint Foundation's continued support will help create a culture of wellness at our Clubs and enable us to reach more kids and communities to change the trajectory of youth health. We are truly grateful for their support as a signature partner of our Great Futures Campaign, which seeks to raise the national dialogue and advocate on behalf of all of America's kids. Together, we can transform an entire generation."

The Great Futures Campaign is BGCA's unprecedented initiative to mobilize the country to ensure great futures for America's youth by inspiring the next generation to be successful, healthy and engaged citizens.  BGCA, along with our Great Futures partners, is leading the way to assure that every young person who enters our doors is on track to graduate college or career ready, demonstrating good character and living a healthy lifestyle.

The announcement of WellPoint Foundation's groundbreaking support marks the first public partnership of the Campaign. This significant investment is instrumental in enabling BGCA to further its Great Futures Impact Plan in the area of health and wellness. Together with WellPoint Foundation, BGCA has set a goal of 9.1 million connections with the Triple Play program over the next five years. It will help create an environment that emphasizes health and wellness, including nutrition-related activities that underscore portion control, a balanced diet and improving access to healthy food choices. Daily challenges including competitive sports and non-competitive physical activities will help Club members learn to work as part of a team.   

"Together, with community organizations and nonprofits across the country, WellPoint Foundation is working to improve health and strengthen communities," said Lance Chrisman, WellPoint Foundation executive director. "This grant – the largest in the history of our foundation – is being made because we've seen the success of the Triple Play program first-hand and we know it's critical to the future health of our country. We're proud to work with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to encourage kids to have fun while eating healthier foods, becoming more physically active and feeling better about themselves."

A study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 who attend Boys & Girls Clubs showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more and eat healthier foods. Kids who participated in Triple Play increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent.

During the past three years, the WellPoint Foundation committed $5 million to support Triple Play as a part of its ongoing work to promote healthy, active lifestyles. Through its Healthy Generations grant platform, WellPoint Foundation identifies public health issues in need of addition and then directs its financial support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas. The new grant will also continue WellPoint Foundation's support for BGCA's Military Youth of the Year. Founded last year with support from WellPoint's National Government Services Foundation, Military Youth of the Year is a distinct component of BGCA's longstanding National Youth of the Year initiative.  It honors outstanding teens from BGCA-affiliated youth centers on U.S. military installations worldwide and recognizes one to serve as an advocate for military youth.

Learn more about the program and partnership at bgca.org/tripleplay.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.

About WellPoint Foundation
The WellPoint Foundation is the philanthropic arm of WellPoint, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of WellPoint, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation, please visit www.wellpointfoundation.org and its blog at http://wellpointfoundation.tumblr.com.

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SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America



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