For Immediate Release: Mon., March 11

Contact: Julie LaBar | Director of Marketing and Communications
412/622-6915, ext. 3801 ǀ jlabar@phipps.conservatory.org


Let’s Move Pittsburgh’s Champion Schools Award Nominations Are Open, Recognizing High Impact Health Initiatives
Phipps Conservatory-led program provides recognition and funding to area school wellness programs, improving children’s health and well-being.

Pittsburgh, Pa. — Let’s Move Pittsburgh, a healthy lifestyle program of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, announces that 2019 Champion Schools Awards are open for applications through April 12, 2019. Early childcare centers, pre-kindergarten and elementary schools in Allegheny County are invited to submit applications to fund innovative new and existing initiatives that will improve children’s health and well-being.

Now in its sixth year, Let’s Move Pittsburgh will award 40 Champion Schools Awards, providing special recognition and mini-grants of $1,000 each to local schools and childcare centers that are championing engaging programs and encouraging children to be physically active and eat healthy foods before, during and after school. Mini-grants will fund winners’ new and existing wellness programs.

Through the Champion Schools Award program, in addition to year-round family-friendly events, 5-2-1-0 initiative and additional resources and tools available to the public at letsmovepittsburgh.org, Let’s Move Pittsburgh helps to make southwestern Pennsylvania the healthiest place for kids to learn and grow.
Educators, administrators, students, food service directors, school nurses and/or parents on behalf of a licensed early childcare center, pre-kindergarten or elementary school in Allegheny County are eligible to submit a Champion Schools Award nomination. Applicants must receive permission from their school principal to apply for funds. Licensed childcare facilities must participate in Keystone STARS at any level, 1-4, to be eligible for an award. 

Projects eligible for funding through Champion Schools Awards must focus on at least one of these healthy lifestyle areas:

  • Bag the Junk: Projects aim to increase healthy food and nutrition education in schools. Examples include an initiative to remove junk food from the school setting, a nutrition education program, healthy concession stands, a water campaign and a healthy snack or breakfast program.
  • Get Kids Moving: Projects aim to increase physical activity in and out of schools. Examples include classroom physical activity breaks, a before or after school exercise club, structured recess games and kinesthetic classrooms.
  • Teach Kids to Grow and Cook Food: Projects aim to increase knowledge of how to grow and prepare fresh, healthy foods. Examples include a school vegetable garden, an after school healthy cooking club, healthy cooking lessons from local chefs and classroom wall and tower gardens.
  • Sustainable Citizenship: Projects aim to expose students to a variety of environmental topics to make a positive impact in the community. Examples include a school recycling or composting program, an afterschool science club and a pollinator garden.

In 2018, 40 schools were awarded Champion Schools Awards mini-grants. One recipient, Dormont Elementary School, used funding to design and build an outdoor healthy lifestyles classroom to provide hands-on experience in arts, science and wellness. At the school, students are responsible for planting herb and vegetable seeds, tending to the garden, composting and sharing their harvest at a community market, providing valuable learning while reinforcing the benefits of fresh, healthy foods.

Let’s Move Pittsburgh Champion Schools Awards are made possible with support from The Heinz Endowments. To apply, submit an application form available at letsmovepittsburgh.org/champion. Champion Schools Awards nominations close on April 12, 2019 at 5 p.m. Winners will be notified by Wed., May 20, 2019.

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About Let’s Move Pittsburgh: Let’s Move Pittsburgh, a healthy lifestyle program of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, brings together organizations, healthcare providers, educators, parents and caregivers in southwestern Pennsylvania to lead children toward a healthier future. Learn about Let’s Move Pittsburgh’s programs including upcoming family-friendly events, 5-2-1-0 initiative, grant funding, Green Light Foods app, professional symposia, speaker series and health and wellness resources at letsmovepittsburgh.org

About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA is a globally recognized green leader with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Encompassing 15 acres including a historic 14-room glasshouse, 23 distinct indoor and outdoor gardens and industry-leading sustainable architecture and operations, Phipps attracts nearly half a million visitors annually from around the world. Learn more at  phipps.conservatory.org.

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