GENYOUth, a leading youth health and wellness nonprofit dedicated to creating healthier school communities, generated nearly $2 million during its annual fundraising Gala on Dec. 4 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
GENYOUth is a public charity whose flagship program is Fuel Up to Play 60, which was created by National Dairy Council and the National Football League to improve health and wellness in schools across the country. The program is in 73,000 schools, reaching more than 38 million students since launching 10 years ago.
“Each year our Gala highlights and celebrates the strides GENYOUth has made in supporting the development of healthy, high-achieving students,” said Alexis Glick, GENYOUth CEO. “I am so proud to say that through the support of our corporate and foundation partners, along with our Gala guests, we raised nearly $2 million – contributions that not only make our programs possible but most importantly address the critical needs of today’s youth to be healthy, physically active and prepared to be vital members of America’s workforce.”
Added Pennsylvania dairy farmer Marilyn Hershey, who serves as chair of Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff: “The Gala once again showed how much we all have in common when it comes to driving health and wellness priorities in schools. The opportunity for farmers and major business leaders and influencers to network and align on our shared values is critical to our continued success, and we’re thankful to GENYOUth for making it happen.”
This year’s Gala theme – “Rise By Lifting Others!” – embraced the importance and value of mentoring, inspiring, challenging and investing in youth to help them achieve their personal best. Steven Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America, helped present the organization’s Vanguard Award to Kevin Warren, Commissioner-Elect of the Big Ten Conference and former Chief Operations Officer for The Minnesota Vikings.
“Remember, it all goes back to the fact that healthy and educated children not only perform better in school, but they are our future employees, leaders, and yes, consumers,” Williams said in passing the torch to Warren. “Let’s continue to give them the future they deserve.”
In accepting his recognition, Warren said, “GENYOUth represents so many of the attributes that I have followed in life, especially because I believe that we can all ’Rise by Lifting Others‘ through how we mentor and serve others within our schools and communities.”
New to GENYOUth’s Gala are the Genny Awards, which honor individuals who embody the leadership role that GENYOUth serves in school communities by helping more students “Rise By Lifting Others.”
This year’s GENNY award recipients are:
• Agriculture: Indiana dairy farmer and registered dietitian Sarah Kuehnert for her commitment to youth education in nutrition and agriculture. Kuehnert connects the dots to show the true source of food.
• Program Advisor: Ann King from Westchester Academy in Houston for her achievement in promoting the benefits of nutrition and physical fitness to her students as a member of the Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Advisory Committee.
• NFL Leadership: Pro Football Hall of Fame member and retired Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz. Through his support of Fuel Up to Play 60 en español and the work of his Foundation, Munoz is leading the way by inspiring Hispanic youth and their families to eat healthier, move more and build leadership skills through character development.
• Health and Wellness Professional: The former District Director of Physical Education and Health Literacy at Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 34 years and current Project Director at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Jayne Greenberg is a physical fitness trailblazer. Greenberg was one of the first to start an all-girls FLAG Football program in her school district and has been providing engagement opportunities for students with disabilities to ensure inclusion in play for all.
• Corporate Leadership: Vice President and Executive Director of the NFL Foundation at the National Football League, Alexia Gallagher and Vice President for Youth & High School Football Strategy at the National Football League, Roman Oben for their successful efforts in carrying the flag for in-school physical fitness with the NFL FLAG-In-Schools program.
Gala special guests and keynote speakers included James “J.B.” Brown, noted CBS Sports Studio Host and CBS News Special Correspondent, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Minnesota Vikings Owner and Chairman Zygi Wilf and Owner and President Mark Wilf, Denver Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis, Famed Chef and TV Personality Carla Hall, Thrive Global Founder and CEO Arianna Huffington, journalist Katie Couric along with NFL owners and top CEOs.
Brown moderated a special panel discussion that addressed mentoring, leadership, and youth empowerment featuring Shelly Ibach, CEO of Sleep Number; Cris Carter, NFL Hall of Fame Receiver and former Minnesota Viking; and Richard Davis, CEO of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and former head of U.S. Bank.
GENYOUth’s Gala was generously supported by leaders and businesses from various fields including agriculture, food, fitness, technology, media, and sports, who encourage and invest in students to become the stewards of their own healthy-high-achieving futures. The evening was made possible through the commitment of corporate partners Corteva Agriscience, UnitedHealthcare, Alight Solutions and TDAmeritrade.
The 2019 Gala reflects the dedication and tireless commitment of GENYOUth’s Board of Directors and Host Committee members which includes Thomas Gallagher, CEO Dairy Management Inc.; Alexis Glick, CEO GENYOUth; Roger Goodell, Commissioner NFL; Audrey Donahoe, Chair, National Dairy Council; Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman; Carla Hall, Former Co-Host of The Chew, Famed Chef, Author and TV Personality; Howie Long, Commentator for FOX Sports and NFL Hall of Fame Inductee; Jeff Miller, EVP Health and Safety for the NFL; Steven H. Nelson, Former CEO, UnitedHealthcare; Donald “DJ” Paoni, President SAP North America, Claressa Shields, Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Boxer, Undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World; DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director, NFL Players Association; Selwyn Vickers, M.D., Dean, University of Alabama School of Medicine; Honorable Tom Vilsack, President and CEO, U.S. Dairy Export Council, Former Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture; Russell Weiner, COO and President of the Americas, Domino’s; Chris Michalak, CEO, Alight Solutions; Dana Bolden, Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Sustainability at Corteva Agriscience, and Dr. David Satcher, 16th U.S. Surgeon General Emeritus.
GENYOUth is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and public charity that empowers students to create a healthier future for themselves and their peers by convening a network of private and public partners to raise funds for youth wellness initiatives that create healthier school communities. We believe that all students are change-agents who deserve the opportunity to identify and lead innovative solutions that positively impact nutrition, physical activity, and student success. GENYOUth’s flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60, enrolls over 73,000 U.S. schools, reaching over 38 million students in nearly 10 years of operation. For more information about GENYOUth, visit www.genyouthnow.org.