IBC Foundation announces new partnership with Philadelphia Freedoms to further support Healthy Futures child wellness initiative

Kick-off event includes pre-match tennis clinic with Healthy Futures students, Freedoms owner Billie Jean King, and Venus Williams


PHILADELPHIA, PA., July 17, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Independence Blue Cross Foundation today announces that the Philadelphia Freedoms are the newest IBC Foundation Healthy Futures Initiative "Get Fit" partner. Starting this fall, The Freedoms will provide a school-based tennis program to fifth-graders in eight Healthy Futures schools. The IBC Foundation and Freedoms will launch their partnership at a pre-match tennis clinic at 5 p.m. at The Pavilion on the campus of Villanova University with 30 Healthy Futures students, Freedoms owner Billie Jean King, and seven-time Grand Slam title holder Venus Williams.

Launched in 2013 in 25 schools throughout the five-county Philadelphia area, Healthy Futures is a three-year, $3 million program focused on improving child wellness. Schools participating in Healthy Futures receive innovative tools and resources to help children Eat Right, Get Fit, and Stay Well — the initiative's three core components. The Freedoms participation expands the Healthy Futures fitness component which currently includes partnerships with the Philadelphia Union soccer team and Fit Essentials, a customized weekly exercise program for kids.

"Tennis is both a great way for kids to exercise and have lots of fun, and there's no better partner to bring this wonderful sport to kids in our region than Billie Jean King and the Philadelphia Freedoms," said IBC Foundation president Lorina Marshall-Blake. "Many kids in urban areas don't have easy access to a sport like tennis which is why we're very excited about this collaboration. Tennis is a game that can be learned at a young age and enjoyed for a lifetime, and through Healthy Futures, we may even inspire the next generation's tennis star."

The Foundation has engaged Drexel University to conduct a three-year study tracking changes in student absenteeism, and biometric indicators such as height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference. The study will also evaluate changes in students' attitudes and perceptions about healthy living, food choices, and nutritional awareness. The study's findings will help IBC Foundation and its partners shape recommendations for future child wellness initiatives, as well as replicating the Healthy Futures program in other regions.

About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a charitable, private foundation, whose mission is leading solutions for a healthier community. The foundation targets the following areas of impact:

  • Securing the Blue Safety Net: Supporting private, nonprofit community health center clinics that increase access to quality, affordable healthcare in medically underserved areas.
  • Bolstering the Health Care Workforce: Strengthening the nursing, primary care, and allied health workforce through education, career development, and research.
  • Addressing Health Priorities: Collaborating with wellness partners to tackle the region's most pressing health challenges; currently combating the obesity epidemic through the IBC Foundation Healthy Futures Initiative.
  • Building Healthier Communities: Partnering with community leaders and programs to address community health and wellness needs.

Learn more by visiting our website: www.ibxfoundation.org. Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on Twitter and Instagram at @ibxfdn

About the Philadelphia Freedoms

Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) was co-founded by Billie Jean King who is also the owner of the Philadelphia Freedoms. The 2014 Philadelphia Freedoms are hosted by Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Generous support is also provided by official sponsors Lincoln Motor Company, 23K Studios, Atria Senior Living, Beneficial Bank, CBS-3/CW Philly, Comcast Spectacor, DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia - Valley Forge, Fast Signs of Delaware, Fidelity Investments, Hamlin Family Foundation, Macy*s, Neumann University Sport & Entertainment Management, NovaCare Rehabilitation, Philadelphia 76ers, Sweet Street Desserts, USTA Middle States, and Winnie's LeBus Manayunk.


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