Kansas Health Foundation awards $66,000 grant to FHSU for food and hunger initiatives
05/08/2014

Fort Hays State University has received a $66,000 healthy living grant from the Kansas Health Foundation. FHSU is one of 22 new grantees in the state to receive healthy living grant funding, which will help support the Campus Food and Hunger Initiatives.

The initiatives include the Victor E. Garden, which is a community garden, the Tiger Food Exchange, which is a campus food pantry, and healthy living educational programming aimed at making healthy food accessible to members of the Tiger community.

"This has been such a terrific collaboration across the university community," said Dr. Shala Mills, chair and professor of political science and co-chair of the Campus Food and Hunger Initiatives. "Results from our Campus Food Insecurity Survey indicate that FHSU students have a food insecurity rate higher than the national average. That's alarming data, and it has brought students, faculty and staff together around the issue of providing access to healthy foods. This grant will make it possible for our community garden, food pantry and educational programs to reach even more members of our campus community, whether they are food insecure, want to be part of a community garden or would just like to learn more about gardening or how to cook healthy meals."

Funding for healthy living initiatives represents one way the Kansas Health Foundation seeks to address issues of tobacco use and obesity in Kansas. Grants were specifically targeted toward programs and initiatives supporting healthy eating, active living and tobacco prevention. Smoking and obesity remain the leading causes of preventable death and illness in the state and combine to cost Kansas more than $2 billion annually in unnecessary health care costs.

"Providing funding to organizations poised to make an impact on major health issues like obesity and tobacco use is crucial to our work and the overall health landscape in Kansas," said Jeff Willett, vice president for programs at the Kansas Health Foundation. "These are health problems that affect the lives of many Kansans and are increasingly concentrated among Kansans of lower socioeconomic status, further compounding health and economic disparities in our state."

FHSU will be hiring three student coordinators to assist with the new projects made possible by the KHF grant. The Victor E. Garden student coordinator will work with Dr. Jean Gleichsner, associate professor of agriculture; the Tiger Food Exchange student coordinator and the Web/social media student Coordinator will work with Dr. Mills; and all three of the student coordinators will assist Dr. Jenny Manry, associate professor of nursing, with educational programming. Students interested in one or more of the student coordinator positions may apply through FHSU’s JobX system.

For more information about FHSU‘s food and hunger efforts or to learn how you can participate, please call Shala Mills at 785-628-4425 or send an email to samills@fhsu.edu.

All grantees -- including universities, nonprofit organizations, state agencies and municipalities -- received funding through a competitive application process, with individual grant awards of up to $100,000. In total, the Kansas Health Foundation provided approximately $2 million in healthy living grants across the 22 grantees. Initiatives that were funded emphasized strategies intended to lead to implementation of policy, systems and environmental interventions with the potential to impact a broad population. Through this type of grant making, the KHF helps Kansans with experience, know-how and inspiration tackle some of the toughest issues facing public health today and provides the funding needed to see their mission accomplished.

About the Kansas Health Foundation
The KHF is a private philanthropy based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. Its mission is to improve the health of all Kansans. To learn more about the KHF, please visit www.kansashealth.org.


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Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu