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Whole Kids Foundation™ Awards Chicago’s Oriental Institute $25,000 Grant to Help with Nutrition Education to Children

Institute helps connect kids to food using archaeological discovery

Today, Whole Kids Foundation announced the award of a $25,000 healthy eating education grant to The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago as part of its Healthy Kids Innovation Program in partnership with United Health Foundation. This grant will be used to partially fund a program the Institute is designing for teachers that uses archaeological exploration of food, health and nutrition in ancient civilizations to help students understand human diets and the importance of food diversity for human health. 

“The idea of connecting kids to food through their ancestry using archaeological discovery is truly unique – and a new approach for incorporating healthy eating into unexpected areas of the Common Core,” says Nona Evans, Executive Director, Whole Kids Foundation. “This project has the potential to provide resources and strong learning outcomes for students in Chicagoland schools and possibly across the nation.”

“We are honored and thrilled to partner with a wellness-minded organization like Whole Kids Foundation. Not only will this new partnership provide teacher training and help their students  make connections between archaeology, world history, and nutrition, but also we will make positive and practical changes together concerning children’s health,” says Carol Ng-He, School and Community Program Manager, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. “We are grateful to Whole Kids Foundation for their support, and we look forward to seeing the results of the program.”

The Oriental Institute is dedicated to providing learning opportunities about the cultures of the ancient Near East to children. This new program will help teachers connect children with the lives of ancient peoples and help them make healthy, educated decisions about their food. During a five-day training, 30 fifth to eighth grade teachers from around Chicagoland will train to use a curriculum to teach nutrition and gardening through the lens of ancient archeology.

Whole Kids Foundation’s Healthy Kids Innovation Grant Program in partnership with United Health Foundation launched in October 2015 with the goal of supporting innovate projects nationwide that will improve children’s health and nutrition, and engage kids in making good food choices. Open to educators, individuals and nonprofit organizations seeking to break down barriers to basic, but critical information and resources, such as where food comes from and the importance of eating health foods, the grant program selected 9 organizations to award a total of $200,000 in funds

For more information about additional Whole Kids Foundation programs, visit wholekidsfoundation.org.


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Michael Bashaw

President, Midwest Region

Michael Bashaw’s career with Whole Foods Market started 20 years ago as a Bread and Circus Team Member in the North Atlantic Region.

Nona Evans

President and Executive Director, Whole Kids Foundation

Nona has a longstanding passion for improving the experience of children’s education, which she has married with the importance of nutrition and access to healthy food choices through Whole Kids Foundation, the newest philanthropic endeavor of Whole Foods Market.