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January 10th, 2014

Dear HYP Partners and members of the community,

We would like to thank all of you for supporting the Healthy Youth Partnership (HYP) over the past several years. Many of you have followed HYP since its inception, while others have learned about the organization recently. The mission of HYP has always been to work to eliminate youth obesity through collaborations that promote healthy eating and active living in the St. Louis region.  It is with regret we write this letter to inform you that HYP will dissolve in 2014. While the work on childhood obesity remains a regional and national priority, HYP is no longer financially sustainable.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with how the organization came about, we have included a brief history below.

In 2004, a group of 23 youth development, health, nutrition, and fitness experts, convened to review the results of a qualitative research study sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation and the St. Louis Rams Foundation and carried out by the Coro Leadership Center-St. Louis. The experts decided to pursue a collaborative effort, which they titled the "St. Louis Regional Youth Health and Wellness Initiative." In 2006, the group merged with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s Childhood Obesity Initiative, and an action plan was developed that included six intervention categories: Youth, Family/Household, Community, School, Research and Evaluation, and Collaboration Structure. The group decided to carry out this action plan under the name the Healthy Youth Partnership, and thus emerged one of the area’s largest multi-sector collaborations committed to youth health.

In the years that followed, HYP formed partnerships with a variety of organizations, and currently has over 90 partners within the St. Louis region. HYP has been able to continue its work through the guidance of the Board of Directors, which is led by current President Angela Lima, who began her term in July 2012. In the spring of 2013, HYP was able to bring on two part time staff members: a Program Manager, Leslie Jones, and Partnership Development Coordinator, Evan Goodman. Leslie and Evan worked with the board to strengthen the presence of HYP within the community. Part of this work was in conjunction with the St. Louis Public School District’s Carol M. White PEP grant entitled AIM for Fitness. HYP’s role in the AIM For Fitness program was to coordinate a series of mini-grant programs, which were carried out by HYP Partners Gateway Greening and the St. Louis University Department of Nutrition and Dietetics. For more information on the mini-grant programs, feel free to read more on the HYP website www.healthyyouthpartnership.org, under “HYP in Action.”

Through the mini-grant programs more than 1,900 students received the opportunity to cook, taste, and grow nutritious and novel foods. In addition, physical activity was incorporated through energetic hands-on gardening. The leaders of each mini-grant program presented their work to more than 40 individuals in the public health community at an HYP Partner Meeting in June 2013.  

HYP is proud of the work we have accomplished over the past several years.  Working as a convener, intermediary and independent 501c3 organization has presented challenges. HYP would be remiss without acknowledging the constant support of the United Way of Greater St. Louis. The United Way has graciously and tirelessly provided accounting services for the organization and office space for HYP staff; without this important “home”, HYP would have never achieved the work it has  to date  supporting multiple school districts and partners throughout the region.

As a testament to the commitment for the work on childhood obesity and the St. Louis region, HYP is releasing a final funding award to an organization currently working towards decreasing childhood obesity. A Request for Proposals (RFP) and the application materials may be found here. Through February 13th, 2014, HYP will be accepting grant proposals to help meet the objectives listed below. The funding of this project as well as any further development beyond the RFP is at the sole discretion of HYP. HYP is seeking to fund projects that meet one (1) or more of the following objectives: 

  • Encourage the sharing of research, projects, and information in order to reduce “siloed” work among organizations and increase engagement among them.
  • Further development of a currently implemented program aimed at reducing childhood obesity.
  • Preference given to organizations/individuals developing or piloting an on-line database encouraging organizations to share best practices in reducing childhood obesity.

We invite you to review the annual report for the work completed in the 2012-2013 school year with the St. Louis Public Schools. HYP Board of Directors thanks you for your commitment to this important cause and hope that we are able to support and strengthen the public health efforts in the community as we close  the organization. 

Respectfully,

Angela Lima, on behalf of HYP Board of Directors

Who We Are:

The Healthy Youth Partnership (HYP) works to promote healthy eating and active living among children in the St. Louis Region, aiming to reduce childhood obesity. HYP is a growing collaboration of partner organizations. HYP advocates for partners to leverage their collective capabilities, and work together towards the common goal of improving the lives of children.

What We Do:

"Investing in prevention today means a healthier, more productive, and brighter future for our country and our children."

- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation