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Wellmark Foundation grant funds awarded to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sioux Empire

Grant, chosen from over 130 requests, will fund the Future Chefs of America: Cooking and Nutrition in the 21st Century Project

March 20, 2013

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(Sioux Falls, South Dakota) –The Boys and Girls Clubs of Sioux Empire has received a $20,000 grant from the Wellmark Foundation to implement the Future Chefs of America Program. Benefitting the Eastside Boys and Girls Club, the program seeks to prevent childhood obesity and improve overall health by increasing their knowledge and awareness of proper nutrition, cooking skills, and exposing them to potential culinary careers.

Future Chefs of America: Cooking and Nutrition in the 21st Century
The Boys and Girls Club of the Sioux Empire (BGCSE) will be starting an exciting new program this year called ‘Future Chefs of America’ where youth will learn the skills to prepare healthy and easy to make meals. The three primary goals of the program will be for youth to gain a better understanding of nutrition and how it relates to overall health, teach them basic cooking skills, and expose them to potential culinary careers.

The Wellmark grant will be used for supplies and to develop curriculum for the program that will consist of eight weekly sessions. Each session will be about two hours and led by Club staff with the assistance of culinary professionals from the community.

BGCSE is also collaborating with Fuzion Food Group, Sanford Health, Hy-Vee and SDSU Cooperative Extension Service to create and implement the program in an effort to teach nutritional fundamentals, practical kitchen skills and lifelong healthy attitudes. BGCSE already uses Fuzion Food Group cooking equipment to prepare meals served to youth which uses a more healthful means of preparation by using high speed/high moisture cooking, ultimately preserving moisture in the food and locking in vitamins and nutrients.

The Future Chefs program will improve community health by working directly with youth and their families to increase nutritional health, understanding and practical skills through a hands-on, fun, tasty experience! At the end of the program youth will plan, prepare and serve an entire menu of items to their specially invited guests and family members to show what they have learned over the course of the program.

Grant one of only ten selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans and their communities. Through its 2012 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received 135 grant requests seeking support for smaller community health projects. This grant award to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sioux Empire represents one of ten competitively awarded grants to establish pilot efforts or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota.

The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award a cumulative total of over $190,000 to these ten grant recipients to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“The Future Chefs of America Program has the potential to significantly impact the lives of many youth in Sioux Falls in a long-lasting, positive way,” says Matt McGarvey, director of the Wellmark Foundation. “The program plans to develop a curriculum toolkit to be packaged and replicated at more than 4,000 Clubs in the BCGA system. The Wellmark Foundation is very pleased to support this effort.”

Boys and Girls Clubs of Sioux Empire
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire (BGCSE) is the only local nonprofit dedicated exclusively to youth that serves children from four weeks old to age 18. We nurture, educate and enrich children and youth for lifelong success. BGCSE is a diverse organization, providing age-appropriate educational and recreational opportunities for nearly 1,000 youth daily. Our four Youth Enrichment Services learning centers and various school-based sites offer high-quality childcare and early education programs, preschool classes led by teachers with four-year degrees, summer camps and before-and after-school activities in Sioux Falls, Brandon and Harrisburg.

At our Eastside Boys and Girls Club, students 1st grade to age 18 have a safe place where they can spend the evening hours, interact in positive ways with peers, and discover who they’ll become. Annual membership is just $25 per student, including all activities, a warm nutritious daily meal and snacks. BGCSE programs are supported in part by private contributions and corporate sponsorships, as well as proceeds from charitable bingo and other play at Burnside Game Place. To learn more, visit us online at or call (605) 338-8061.

For more information on the Future Chefs of Americaproject, contact Karen Fogas, (605) 338-8061, For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit


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