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Highmark Foundation awards more than $325,000 in "Building Sustainable and Lasting Changes in Schools" grants

May 16, 2016 | Pittsburgh, Pa.

PITTSBURGH (May 16, 2016) — According to the National Center for Education Statistics, youth in the United States spend an average of 180 days, or 1,195 hours, in school each year. Because children spend so much time there, schools can be one of the most effective settings to promote health and wellness. With that in mind, the Highmark Foundation is awarding a total of $326,000 in grants to 54 schools across Pennsylvania and West Virginia in an effort to improve the health and wellness of students.

The Highmark Foundation's "Building Sustainable and Lasting Changes in Schools” grants are part of its Creating a Healthy School Environment Grant and Awards program, which helps schools address specific areas of student health. The grants are awarded to schools that serve children in grades K–12, and they support evidence-based programs that address one of four priority areas: bullying prevention, child injury prevention, healthy eating and physical activity, or environmental health.

"We strive to jumpstart programs that not only promote the health of young people but help them establish lifelong healthy habits," said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. "Through this program, we are proud to help our children grow with healthy bodies and minds."

A total of 54 grants are being awarded to vocational, private, parochial and charter schools as well as public school districts. The funds will help each school cultivate a particular program that will address specific needs in its students' health. Some of the proposals were as broad as physical education programs while others were as specific as improvement of learning environments with LED lighting.

View the full list of schools.

Since 2013, the Highmark Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million through the "Creating a Healthy School Environment" program to 285 schools in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

About the Highmark Foundation

The Highmark Foundation is a private, charitable organization of Highmark Inc. that supports initiatives and programs aimed at improving community health. The Foundation's mission is to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for individuals who reside in the communities served by Highmark Inc. The Foundation strives to support evidence-based programs that impact multiple counties and work collaboratively to leverage additional funding to achieve replicable models. For more information, visit


David Misner
Highmark Health