TLH Coalition Announces Grant Recipients in Childhood Obesity Initiative

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — May 22, 2012

The Tallahassee Childhood Obesity Prevention Education (COPE) Coalition, funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation (BCBSF Foundation), today announced the recipients of 22 mini-grants totaling $200,000 to support their work educating children about healthy lifestyle decisions.

The local organizations receiving the grants proposed plans ranging in focus from physical fitness and outdoor activities to gardening, the arts and health education.

“The increase in childhood obesity is a concern of national importance,” said Dr. Cynthia M. Harris, Director and Professor of Florida A&M University Institute of Public Health, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Co-Director of the Tallahassee COPE Coalition. “We are so thrilled to be able to work with these local programs to teach the children in our community healthy lifestyle habits and raise the level of awareness about this issue.”

Funds for this initiative were made possible through a grant from BCBSF Foundation as part of the Embrace A Healthy Florida Initiative, an ongoing effort to help communities access programs and services to adopt healthy lifestyles and reverse childhood obesity.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation is proud to continue the fight against childhood obesity and support these many good projects,” said Susan Towler, Vice President of BCBSF Foundation. “I know the work Tallahassee is doing will inspire other communities to take charge and eliminate the epidemic, once and for all.”

The grants program was launched in early February 2012 when Tallahassee COPE released an RFP and “Call to Action” Plan to alleviate childhood obesity in Tallahassee and Leon County. The Call to Action Plan highlighted the current needs and provided key recommendations for a community-wide effort to combat childhood obesity.

“Our children are our future — that’s why it is so important to reverse this trend of unhealthy decisions now,” said Sokoya Finch, Executive Director of Florida Family Network and Tallahassee COPE Co-Director. “I believe the work being done in our community by these dedicated people will make a difference.”

The Tallahassee COPE Coalition was funded in 2010 by BCBSF Foundation. Florida A&M University’s Institute of Public Health and the Florida Family Network, Inc. are the lead organizations for the project and work in partnership with Florida State University’s Center on Better Health and Life for Underserved Populations and the Greater Frenchtown Revitalization Council. The mission of the COPE Coalition is to develop and implement a plan of action to decrease childhood obesity in Tallahassee. For more information, visit

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation is a separate, philanthropic affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) incorporated in the state of Florida. The BCBSF Foundation and its parent, BCBSF, are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information on BCBSF Foundation, please visit

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