Grants for Physical Fitness

Although our schools continue to make budget cuts in everything from music to art, one thing continues to be prevalent in most schools – sports. Even though the statistics about obesity are staggering, as a nation we do still hold physical fitness in high regard. Just look in any city and you will find numerous gyms, spas, athletic fields, parks and so forth. It stands to reason that funds would be available to promote physical fitness.

  • Federal Grants. On October 1, 2009 Executive Order 13511 put into place Program 93.289; the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. This grant program promotes physical activity and fitness for all ages. More information on this grant can be found at www.fitness.gov which also serves as an education site in itself.

  • Corporate Community Grants. There are many corporations that have a community action commitment that extends to providing grants for physical fitness. One such company is General Mills. Their “Champions for Healthy Kids” program awards 50 grants of $10,000 each to community groups working to assist children with proper diet and physical fitness. Information regarding this grant can be found at http://www.generalmills.com/corporate/commitment/champions.aspx

  • University Grants. Universities receive numerous grants for physical fitness – generally sports oriented. Their websites will give you a wealth of available grant sources. For example, Michigan State University lists such grants as:

    • Baseball Tomorrow Fund

    • Bikes Belong Coalition Grants

    • DALMAC Fund (bicycling)

    • Finish Line Youth Foundation

  • Worksite Wellness Grants. Companies are facing the reality that a healthy, physically fit employee is more productive. Many have begun setting up training rooms for their employees to use. Others make arrangements at local gyms and training centers as either a free benefit or at a reduced cost. One state has gone even further – Western NY’s School of Public Health and Health Professions set up a $1 million Wellness Works initiative in 2005 in which 13 companies received grants to set up employee wellness programs – thus serving a total of 20,790 employees. Other states and communities have similar programs; check with your Public Health department to see if they have grants for physical fitness.

  • Nonprofit Grants. Various nonprofit organizations that are either federal or privately funded engage in promoting physical fitness. For example, The American Heart Association, in conjunction with the Oregon Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity, in 2003 received a $200,000 grant that benefited three Portland communities. It was used to raise physical actions and fight obesity.

There is no reason to let lack of finances keep you from getting in better physical shape. There are programs available to help you, and many of them are completely free.

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