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November 27, 2013

#CANFIT20: A Walk Down Gratitude Lane – Part 1

We give thanks for all those who've helped us in the last twenty years help improve community health and well-being, especially with youth and communities of color.

By Arnell Hinkle

A national non-profit organization with a 20 year track record doesn’t happen without the clear thinking and energy of a lot of people. Board, staff, interns, consultants, advisers, grant and scholarship reviewers all contribute to our organization. Looking back on those first years, we have a lot to be thankful for. CANFIT wouldn’t be here without the work in 1977 of Public Advocates law firm (and particularly Lois Salisbury) who filed the initial class action lawsuit (on behalf of the Committee on Children’s Television) against a children’s breakfast cereal manufacturer for alleged misleading advertisements that inferred their cereals were healthy when, in fact, they were more than 50% sugar (sound familiar?). That lawsuit percolated through the justice system for 16 years until a settlement was finally reached in 1993. The original CANFIT Administrative Board, comprised of Lucy Adams, Cherrie Boyer, Carmela Castellano), Nicolette Collins, Gail Frank, Felicia Hodge, Karen Kamachi, Virginia Jang, Helen Magnuson, Michael Mudd, Jack Nevins, Patricia Lozada-Santone, John Payne, Lois Salisbury, Sarah Samuels, and led by Lewis King set the tone and principles that still guide us today – our focus on low income adolescents and communities of color, and culturally –relevant ways to improve their eating and physical activity environment. After the settlement ended, CANFIT was supported by the philanthropic community to continue the work of our mission. The California Endowment invested in our grant making program, and allowed us to continue funding small, grassroots groups and new emerging leaders with passion (e.g., Sports for Kids – now Playworks, Toni Yancey). The California Wellness Foundation supported the development of our training and technical assistance program, enabling CANFIT to create training protocols and materials for teaching youth providers about healthy eating and fitness. The cutting-edge work of CANFIT’s first ten years were honored and celebrated when the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation bestowed us with a 2003 Community Health Leaders Award. During our first ten years we worked with over 50 community based groups in California, awarded over 90 academic scholarships, trained hundreds of youth providers, and impacted the lives of thousands of low-income, adolescents of color. Yes, a lot to be thankful for. To be continued… #CANFIT20 celebrates CANFIT's 20-year anniversary with a monthly blog on the 20th day of each month beginning in August 2013 and other blogs, tweets, and social media posts on history tid-bits on CANFIT's journey to helping low-income communities strive for healthy eating and physical activity environments. Worked with CANFIT before? Share your stories and thoughts in our 20th Anniversary Assessment today.

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