The Learning Community and Collaborators Receive $75,000 Blue Cross Grant to Lead Nutrition and Physical Activity Program for Youth & Families

 The Learning Community and Collaborators Receive $75,000 Blue Cross Grant    to Lead Nutrition and Physical Activity Program for Youth & Families

CENTRAL FALLS, RI (February18, 2014) – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode

Island (BCBSRI) announced today that it has awarded The Learning Community,

a K-8 public charter school serving Central Falls, Providence and

Pawtucket, a $75,000 grant to fund Not Just Gym, a nutrition and physical

activity program to engage students and their families in a lifelong

commitment to exercise and healthy living.

In collaboration with local partners, The Apeiron Institute for Sustainable

Living and Shri Yoga Studios’ Shri Service Corps, The Learning Community

will use funding for Not Just Gym to deepen their health and fitness

programs. New additions will include expanded afterschool programs and

integrating activity monitors and circuit training into physical education

courses. While programming will reach students who are overweight or obese,

the ultimate goal of Not Just Gym is to cement healthy living in all of the

school’s students and extend that behavior by working in partnership with

families.  Programming to achieve that goal includes a monthly healthy

living series for families and expansion of their Let’s Move Family Fitness

Festival. Not Just Gym will impact more than 550 Rhode Island K-8 students

and their families.

Funding for the initiative is part of the 2014 BlueAngel Community Health

Grant Program (BACHG), which supports nonprofit organizations addressing

critical health issues in Rhode Island.

“The theory behind Not Just Gym is that by engaging students in a wide

variety of initiatives, they will adopt habits that evolve into lifestyle

changes. Families are our most important partners, so it just makes sense

to include them in this initiative. We have seen how excited students are

to share what they know about exercise with their families at home.  We are

committed to the whole school community modeling that healthy living is

important and fun,” said Sarah Friedman, Co-Director of The Learning

Community. “Our terrific partners are known for innovative thinking about

wellness; together, we will make a major positive and lasting health impact

with our community.”

In 2014, BCBSRI celebrates 75 years of providing high quality coverage and

peace of mind to thousands of Rhode Island families.  In recognition of

this milestone anniversary, BCBSRI will award three $75,000 BlueAngel

Community Health grants to agency collaborations that provide community

education and outreach on the importance of good nutrition, physical

activity, and healthy weight for children and their families. For the first

time this year, grants are focused exclusively on programs impacting

childhood obesity.

“As we look at the next 75 years here, the BlueAngel program is one way we

can support and partner with community-based agencies working to help Rhode

Islanders live healthier lives,” said Michele Lederberg, Chief

Administrative Officer, BCBSRI. “The Learning Community and its partners’

collaboration on this nutrition and physical program addresses an important

need to create a commitment to health and wellness throughout a lifetime.

We hope that this focus on tomorrow’s leaders will make an even more

targeted impact on Rhode Island’s future.”

The BACHG Program is the cornerstone of BCBSRI’s charitable giving. Since

the Program’s inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated over $2.3 million

dollars to support Rhode Island nonprofit organizations helping un- and

under-insured Rhode Islanders to live healthier lives. More than 220,000

people in Rhode Island have been touched by funded programs since the

BACHG’s launch.

In July 2013, BCBSRI issued a call for Letters of Inquiry from

organizations seeking BACHG funding, specifically seeking programs that aim

to combat childhood obesity in Rhode Island communities. Out of twenty-one

agencies, three collaborations were chosen to receive $75,000 grants. The

BACHG program provides one year of funding and an opportunity to reapply in

year-two for transitional funding, if successful performance outcomes have

been achieved.

About Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health

insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent

licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more

information, visit and follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI.


About The Learning Community

The Learning Community is a K-8 public charter school and the highest

performing high poverty school in Rhode Island.  The school serves 560

students from Central Falls, Providence and Pawtucket and has one of the

strongest track records of family engagement in the state.  Through The

Teaching Studio, Learning Community teachers are sharing what works with

other public schools, reaching over 3,000 students in 2013.  This work

fulfills the school’s bold mission: At The Learning Community, we believe

that literacy empowers each individual to have a voice, assume community

responsibility and take social action. We expect leadership at every level.

We grow teacher leaders, student leaders and community leaders.  More at