FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2013
Foundation’s gift will increase access to healthy food for Madison-area low-income families
The Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation today announced a $50,000 contribution to United Way of Dane County’s Healthy Food for All Children plan. This plan was announced in June with the goal of reducing the number of hungry children in Dane County in half by 2023.
Today’s gift marks the first investment in the Healthy Food for All Children plan. It is also the first gift from the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation, which was founded this year by the Madison-area resident and professional golfer Steve Stricker and the Fortune 500 insurance company headquartered here.
“This is an exciting opportunity,” Stricker said of the collaboration between the foundation and United Way. “Together we can help build healthy minds and bodies so children and families can achieve their dreams, whatever they may be.”
The foundation’s gift to United Way will place thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in the hands of low-income families. This is an important strategy in United Way’s mission to end family homelessness so families don’t need to make the choice between putting healthy food on the table or paying rent. This gift will also fund a Nutrition Educator position which will work closely with Dane County food pantries to increase education and nutritional value for the families who use it through on site demonstrations and creative family and community cooking classes.
“This new foundation is one more way American Family is committed to families. No child should be denied of a dream because of a lack of access to proper nutrition,” said Jack Salzwedel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Family Insurance. “As we’ve learned, nutrition is key to feeding eager minds, and the foundation intends to provide families guidance on nutrition, education and lifestyles to help children grow and develop. There’s an incredible potential to have an impact in this area.”
United Way’s Healthy Food for All Children community plan—a result of the partnership of between United Way, the Goodman Foundation and Community Action of Southeastern Wisconsin—announced on June 24, focuses on several strategies. It will enhance access to healthy foods for children and families and increase the capacity of neighborhoods and communities to support affordable healthy food choices. It will also maintain culturally appropriate healthy food during and after school, throughout summer programs and in childcare through expanded choices for students and integrated education on healthy living. Over 30 community leaders have created a plan that unifies the community in a common vision to increase options and availability of healthy food for children.
“On behalf of our community, we say thank you to the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation for stepping forward to invest in this new work. Ensuring all children in our community have access to healthy food and reducing family homelessness is one of our core goals in our community’s Agenda for Change,” said Leslie Ann Howard, President & CEO of United Way of Dane County. “It is inspiring to come together with the foundation around our community’s well-being and to steward our youngest citizens on a life-long path to health.”
HEALTHY FOOD AND CHILDREN
- An adequate supply of healthy food is absolutely critical for children’s healthy development and academic success.
- Proper nutrition affects the growth of the brain. For the first eight years after birth, children’s bodies and brains develop at a rapid pace.
- Children need the nutrients in healthy foods to help their bodies grow strong and healthy. Dairy and fresh vegetables and fruits are particularly important. Fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains are full of nutrients that ensure a child’s brain functions properly and maintains overall mental health.
- The effects of hunger on children are significant. Research has shown that children who went hungry at least once in their lives are 2½ times more likely to have poor overall health 10 to 15 years later, compared with those who never go without food.
About the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation
The Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation supports programs, initiatives and organizations that help build strong families and healthy kids. The foundation’s initial focus will be on nutrition and wellness—helping families develop the habits and knowledge necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle and combat chronic health conditions in children. The partnership between Steve Stricker and American Family Insurance—including the establishment of the foundation—was announced in 2013.
About United Way of Dane County
United Way of Dane County is addressing the underlying causes of community issues through our community’s Agenda for Change—seven goals focused on three priority areas of Education, Safety and Health our community identified as most critical to changing lives and strengthening Dane County. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative work, we are achieving measurable results toward making our community better educated, safer, and healthier.
Our Community’s Agenda for Change
- Students succeed academically and graduate from high school, regardless of race.
- Children are cared for and have fun as they become prepared for school.
- There is a decrease in family homelessness.
- There is a reduction in violence toward individuals and families.
- People’s health issues are identified and treated early.
- Seniors and people with disabilities are able to stay in their homes.
United Way engages our community mobilizes volunteers and strengthens local nonprofits to achieve measurable results and change lives.