NORTHFIELD, Ill – Chicago kids have a lot to look forward to this school year.  That’s because the Kraft Foods Foundation is bringing fun and educational projects to more than 200,000 local children through its Kraft Great Kids program.  The Foundation is providing $1.6 million to seven area organizations to support nutrition education, fitness, literacy and cultural activities.

“As a Chicago-based company, it’s natural for us to invest in building stronger communities in our hometown,” said Nicole Robinson, Director, Corporate Community Involvement.  “These programs help ensure our kids have safe and healthy places to play and learn when they’re not in school.”

The Kraft Great Kids program builds on Kraft Foods’ global efforts to combat hunger and promote healthy lifestyles.  Last year, for example, the company and its foundation launched a national mobile pantry program in partnership with Feeding America.  In the Chicagoland area alone, these mobile pantries will serve 3.5 million nutritious meals to families over the next three years.

Building Healthier Communities

The Kraft Great Kids grants support projects targeted to communities in Chicago with the highest youth development needs.  In these neighborhoods, 46 percent of the population is under 19 years of age, nearly half live below the poverty line and two-thirds do not finish high school.  In addition, compared to national or state averages, more Chicago children are overweight, or are at risk of being overweight.

“In such difficult economic times, the Chicago Park District understands that some families are struggling to provide even the basics to their children,” said Tim Mitchell, General Superintendent and CEO, Chicago Park District.  “The Kraft Great Kids program opens the doors to cultural, recreational, literacy and wellness driven activities that are part of a healthy childhood and encourages kids to keep learning.  The Park District and Parkways Foundation, our non-profit partner working to bring private investments into the parks, are grateful to the Kraft Foods Foundation for their continued and generous support through the years.”

Great Programs from Seven Great Organizations

The Kraft Great Kids grants support youth programs provided by the following local organizations:

  —  Chicago Park District & Parkways Foundation
      (  Kraft Great Kids program
      assists children with nutrition, fitness, literacy and creative play
      activities.  Parents looking for safe learning opportunities for their
      children ages 6 – 12 during the school year are encouraged to stop in
      at any of the Chicago Park District’s 12 Kraft Great Kids program
      sites this fall. For more information call (312) 742-PLAY or visit
  —  Chicago Public Library (  “Great Kids Museum
      Passports” allow families to experience some of Chicago’s renowned
      cultural institutions free of charge.  And “Kraft Great Kids Family
      Nights” provide opportunities for families with children to spend
      quality time together, including dinner, active play, reading and
  —  After School Matters (  The “Make
      Reading Fun” program provides opportunities for teen interns to mentor
      younger children, while developing marketable job skills for their
      future success.
  —  Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children/CLOCC
      ( Kraft Great Kids has adopted CLOCC’s
      5-4-3-2-1 Go!(TM) message to enrich and enhance the healthy lifestyle
      component of the program.
  —  Chicago Children’s Museum (
      Free admission every Thursday night from 5 – 8 p.m.  Programs on Kraft
      Free Family Night include Passport to the World multicultural
      celebrations, health and wellness resources, and art workshop in the
      Kraft Artabounds Studio.
  —  Kohl Children’s Museum (
      Expanded space provides interactive, health and wellness educational
      experiences for young children.

  —  Ravinia Festival (  Kid-friendly concerts
      bring live music to families.

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