Wilf family and Vikings make initial $1 million investment; Foundation to introduce food truck to serve Minnesota children lacking access to adequate nutrition
Eden Prairie, MN (August 23, 2017) – Minnesota Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilfand Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren announced today the launch of the Minnesota Vikings Foundation, a new charitable organization dedicated to advancing the well-being of youth through engaging health and education initiatives.
Building upon the efforts of the Vikings Children's Fund, which served as the Vikings grant-making organization since 1978 and donated nearly $12 million to youth-related causes, the new Foundation has two critical components:
• Direct charitable programming that actively engages the community to create significant and tangible results. For example, in one of its first programs, the Foundation will introduce a food truck dedicated to serving Minnesota children who lack access to adequate nutrition, especially in the summer months.
• A grant-making structure that creates substantial partnerships and shared accountability for community impact (to be implemented Fall 2017).
"We are always looking at ways in which we can have an impact in our community, and we are excited to begin a new chapter in the Vikings charitable engagement efforts," said Wilf. "The establishment of the Minnesota Vikings Foundation amplifies an already solid philanthropic focus. We are proud to launch this effort dedicated to bettering the lives of children in this region."
Overseen by a board of directors and an advisory board, the Foundation will target childhood hunger, obesity, physical fitness and Minnesota's educational achievement gap. Educational connections and access to Vikings facilities will allow for the Foundation to also introduce programming in areas such as diversity and inclusion and STEM. The Vikings will donate the time of dedicated staff to carry out the day-to-day Foundation activities and to ensure a focused partnership with the team. The Wilf family and the Vikings have made an initial $1 million investment to give the Foundation a strong start.
"Due to poor nutrition and physical inactivity, this is the first generation tracking to have a shorter life expectancy than their parent generation," said Warren. "Additionally, Minnesota has one of the highest educational achievement gaps in the nation, so we have a real opportunity to take a new approach to charitable work in these areas, one that goes beyond raising and donating funds and incorporates engaging programs to make a difference in this community. We look forward to seeing the Minnesota Vikings Foundation do incredible things in Minneapolis-St. Paul and the entire state of Minnesota."
To celebrate today's launch, the Minnesota Vikings Foundation will welcome more than 50 fifth and sixth graders from Minneapolis-St. Paul to the Vikings Winter Park training facility. Mentored by Vikings staff, students will meet the team, enjoy a healthy lunch, participate in physical activity clinic and a health and wellness program, and watch practice. At the conclusion of the day the students will receive free backpacks filled with school supplies.