Before You Go - November 2013
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Healthy Support
ING Awards Grants to Schools to Fight Childhood Obesity

By Deborah L. Vence

Efforts to battle childhood obesity continue as schools across the nation have been awarded grants to develop physical activity programs.

ING U.S., a retirement, investment and insurance company, announced in September that it awarded 59 schools from 26 states across the United States with up to $2,500 grants to help students combat childhood obesity by getting them more active through school-based running programs.

In partnership with the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), the ING Run For Something Better School Awards Program helps kindergarten through 8th-grade students learn about healthy choices, the benefits of running and how to take responsibility for their own fitness.

The schools chosen this year will receive up to $2,500 in funding to support a minimum of an eight-week running program that will end with a culminating running event in celebration of the students' achievements. Schools will receive $1,000 right away, with additional funds granted based on the participation in the program. Those schools also can download running lesson plans developed by AAHPERD. To boot, other program materials, such as sample eight-week training plans, distance logs and a running journal, will aid in the development of running skills and preparation for a culminating running event. (To see the full list of 2013 ING grant winners, go to

The schools that were selected will receive the $1,000 upfront, and then will be given the remainder of the grant later, as long as they participate in the eight-week running program.

"But, the amount they receive for the second installment is based on participation numbers," said Phil Margolis, spokesperson for the ING U.S.

"Each recipient will receive up to a $2,500 school award. The first $1,000 will be awarded upon notification to the school," Margolis said. "The second installment will be distributed upon conclusion and evidence of the school's running culminating event, receipt of PACER [Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run] data and other required post evaluation materials. There are three levels of the second installment."

He added that in order to receive a second installment of $500, the school must have a minimum of 25 kids in grades 4th-8th that complete the PACER and submit the pre and post-test PACER results, complete one culminating event, show evidence of a culminating event (i.e., picture of group at event, news or press clippings, etc.), complete a survey at the end of the program and submit student quotes/essays.

Moreover, in order to receive a second installment in the amount of $1,000, the school's program must have 50 to 99 eligible students in grades 4th through 8th and fulfill all other requirements as stated above. And, in order to receive a second installment of $1,500, the program must have 100 or more eligible students in grades 4th through 8th and fulfill all other requirements as stated above.

Schools that want to receive a grant must meet some criteria.

One of the things they must do is design a before, during and/or after school program that will be offered to the best of the schools' abilities to all students in eligible grades (kindergarten through 8th grade).


  • Awards are available to programs that target grades kindergarten through 8th grade in elementary or middle schools. And, the program must have a commitment of at least 25 students in grades 4th-8th in order to be eligible to apply and supply the PACER data results.
  • Awards are available to schools in all 50 states, D.C. and U.S. territories, but will be limited to no more than seven recipients per state.
  • Schools with existing school-based running programs are eligible for an award, but the school must meet the outlined award criteria. Schools also have the opportunity to use the ING RFSB program materials to enhance their current running program.
  • Any school districts that are currently involved with ING RFSB and/or already participate in an ING-sponsored culminating event are not eligible to apply. Past recipients of the ING RFSB School Awards Program managed through NASPE are eligible and will be reviewed equally with all other applicants.
  • A person conducting the program must be currently employed by the school or school district in which the program will be held.
  • Schools must implement a minimum of an eight-week running program with a culminating event by Dec. 31, 2013. A culminating event must be a running event such as a school running event, Family Fitness run, 5K, last mile in a race, etc. Award ceremonies may be a part of a culminating event, but will not be considered as the event itself. (If your school is unable to complete a running program and culminating event by Dec. 31, 2013, because of geographical restrictions, inclement weather or other reason, please explain in writing when applying.)

Any schools interested in participating in the program can apply online. The 2014 application process opens in December 2013 at

On a national scale, ING U.S. has committed more than $4 million of grants to school-based running programs through ING Run For Something Better. In 2012, the ING Run For Something Better School Awards Program awarded 50 grants to schools in 26 states providing 7,318 students the opportunity to discover running as a fun and easy way to increase physical activity and learn how to make healthy lifestyles choices.