Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Checkoff Watch: Genyouth advancing dairy farmer commitment to youth and schools

Published on 17 October 2014


Genyouth Foundation CEO Alexis Glick often speaks about the people she represents – America’s dairy farmers – when she meets with executives from major corporations and thought leaders around the country.



Her goal is to show these organizations how they can help make a difference in the lives of children by providing resources schools need to support the development of healthy, high-achieving students.

“The thing about America’s dairy farmers is their honest-to-goodness commitment to making sure kids lead an active and healthy lifestyle,” Glick said. “When partners and thought leaders get to see firsthand the investment in and support of our nation’s youth by our dairy farmers, it changes the game entirely.”

Genyouth was established five years ago through an unprecedented public-private partnership with the dairy farmer-founded National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL). Its flagship program – Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60) – is the nation’s largest health and wellness program and is in more than 73,000 schools across the country, impacting 38 million students.

Much of Genyouth’s work revolves around fund-raising as the organization unites partners that have shared dairy farmer goals of empowering kids to lead change in their schools in order to increase access to healthy foods and create more opportunities to be physically active.

Some five-year highlights include the following:


  • The Wellness Impact, a research-based report, shows that physical activity and good nutrition – cornerstones of FUTP 60 – help improve students’ health and academic performance. This research emphasizes the important role of breakfast in providing fuel for the mind and body. The report has been shared with thought leaders to build support for school breakfast and the resources needed to improve nutrition and physical activity in schools.
  • FUTP 60 was chosen by first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to be part of the Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative. It is featured as a program that can help schools create an active school environment and provide grants to help schools make sustainable improvements in nutrition and physical activity.
  • Genyouth formed a partnership with SAP, a leading technology and innovation company that is providing a $3 million grant to support student entrepreneurs to develop and implement efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity in schools. Bringing a partner of SAP’s stature to the table helps build momentum for adding even more resources to Genyouth’s child wellness efforts, particularly Fuel Up to Play 60.

To date, Genyouth has generated more than $30 million to advance youth and school wellness. While Glick is pleased with the progress Genyouth has made, she feels the best lies ahead.

“We haven’t scratched the surface yet,” she said. “One of the greatest investments dairy farmers have made is building one of the best grant infrastructures for schools in the country. It has enabled us to provide in-kind resources, grants and volunteer opportunities to partners and funders that no one else has. We have the size, scale and capability to help 73,000 schools and the 38 million kids they serve each day.

“In the next three to five years, we will seek new partners, leverage existing ones and continue to showcase our ability to dispense resources to schools that need our help to create healthier environments.” PD

What is the conclusion of the Wellness Impact research?

ANSWER: More than 10 million students are not benefiting from a breakfast. The Wellness Impact research shows that physical activity and improved nutrition – cornerstones of Fuel Up to Play 60 – help improve students’ health and academic performance.

Jerry Messer


On the web

  • Genyouth Foundation
    Visit to learn more about how the Genyouth Foundation is working to advance dairy farmers’ commitment to youth and school wellness.
  • Fuel Up to Play 60
    Visit to learn more about how the farmer-produced program is making a difference in more than 73,000 schools.
  • Dairy Management Inc.
    Visit to learn more about how the checkoff works to grow dairy sales, plus other farmer priority areas.

Local spotlight
In collaboration with dairy checkoff state and regional organizations, Genyouth hosted “Learning Connection Town Hall” meetings to provide local forums that spotlight science supporting the importance of quality nutrition (including nutrient-rich dairy) at schools, as well as physical activity in fueling school performance. Here are highlights of some meetings:

  • Chicago: Checkoff partner Quaker sponsored this town hall meeting that included Chief Health Officer of Chicago Public Schools Dr. Stephanie Whyte, the Chicago Bears, Midwest Dairy Council and leaders from the Chicago business community. The goal was to connect area businesses in funding easy-to-fix nutrition and physical activity problems in Chicago public schools.
  • San Francisco: Jamba Juice sponsored this event, which was held at the University of San Francisco and brought Genyouth’s mission to a new demographic of college students and faculty. The discussion panel featured United HealthCare CEO, university trustees, coaches, Bay Area school administrators and childcare officials, plus local FUTP 60 students. Attendees included California’s superintendent of public education, the Dairy Council of California and California Milk Advisory Board.
  • Denver: Dr. James Hill, professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Colorado, led leaders in discussing ways to advance school health in Colorado. The Denver Broncos presented $50,000 to FUTP 60 to advance nutrition and physical activity in Denver schools. Western Dairy Association hosted this event.
  • New York City: New York and New Jersey teacher teams presented ideas for nutrition and physical activity projects in their schools. This event has resulted in business plans being reviewed for possible funding by Dell, Nike, Whole Foods and other corporations. This event was held in collaboration with the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc.
  • Indianapolis: A roundtable discussion with various school wellness stakeholders was moderated by NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, M.D., and hosted by Milk Promotion Services of Indiana. Guests included the Indiana University School of Public Health, the U.S. Tennis Association, Ball State University, the American College of Sports Medicine and others.
  • St. Louis: Midwest Dairy Council and Jamba Juice hosted this event, which included a problem-solving exercise around a school wellness challenge. Attendees tackled a proposed plan for creation and funding of charter school nutrition and physical activity curriculum in an underserved St. Louis neighborhood. A plan is in development with Genyouth playing a supporting role.

TOP: The GENYOUth Foundation and its flagship Fuel Up to Play 60 program is helping students lead a healthier lifestyle, including getting more access to nutritious foods such as dairy. Photo courtesy of FUTP 60.

BOTTOM: Dairy farmers such as Jerry Messer of North Dakota have been engaged in Fuel Up to Play 60 events around the country. Photo courtesy of Jerry Messer.

Your Dairy Checkoff in Action – This update is provided by Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program on behalf of America’s dairy producers and dairy importers. DMI is the domestic and international planning and management organization responsible for increasing sales of and demand for dairy products and ingredients.