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For Immediate Release: Mon., March 26

Contact: Julie LaBar ǀ Director of Marketing and Communications
412/622-6915, ext. 3801 ǀ


Let’s Move Pittsburgh’s Champion Schools Awards Recognize Healthy School Initiatives
Application deadline extended to April 6 to provide funding for healthy lifestyle programs.

Pittsburgh, PA — To inspire and reward high-impact healthy initiatives in area schools and childcare centers, Let’s Move Pittsburgh — a collaborative program of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens dedicated to building healthy lifestyles in the community — announces its fifth annual Champion Schools Awards.Through the awards program, plus year-round events, information, tools and resources, Let’s Move Pittsburgh helps to make Allegheny County the healthiest place for kids to learn and grow.

In 2018, Let’s Move Pittsburgh will award 40 Champion Schools Awards, providing special recognition and mini-grants of $1,000 each to area leaders who are championing innovative, engaging programs that encourage children to be physically active and eat healthy foods before, during and after school.Mini-grants will be used to fund their new or existing projects that improve children’s health and well-being. 

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. Example projects 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.Example projects 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.Example projects include a school vegetable garden, an after school healthy cooking club, healthy cooking lessons from local chefs and classroom wall and tower gardens.
  • New in 2018 — Sustainable Citizenship: Projects aim to expose students to a variety of environmental topics to make a positive impact in the community. Example projects include a school recycling or composting program, an afterschool science club and a pollinator garden.

In 2017, 40 schools were awarded Champion Schools Awards mini-grants. La Escuelita Arcoiris was a first-time award recipient. They used their funding to create El Jardín de Colores, a garden of raised beds to plant herbs and vegetables, hosting an Escuelita Salsa Party for their students and their families. Pittsburgh Liberty K – 5 also received a Champion Schools Award, with funding used to support needed playground renovations and the creation of a school garden to benefit all students.

To apply, submit an application form available at The application deadline has been extended, with nominations closing Fri., April 6 at 5 p.m. Winners will notified by May 2018.

Let’s Move Pittsburgh’s Champion Schools Awards are generously funded by The Heinz Endowments


About Let’s Move Pittsburgh: Let’s Move Pittsburgh, an initiative of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens supported by UPMC Health Plan, is a collaborative effort of organizations, healthcare providers, educators, parents and caregivers in southwestern Pennsylvania committed to leading children toward a healthier future. The program is inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to curb childhood obesity through raised awareness about the benefits of healthy foods, decreased screen time and increased physical activity. Learn more and sign up for Let’s Move Pittsburgh’s e-newsletter for additional news, tips and tools at

About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens 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. Phipps commemorates its 125th anniversary throughout 2018, celebrating its historic past, vibrant present and exciting future ahead — including inspiring seasonal flower shows, community events, public programs and groundbreaking green innovation. Learn more at

Select photos © Brian Cohen