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The John Rex Endowment

In 2006, the John Rex Endowment made a long-term commitment to invest in the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity in Wake County. Since that time, they have awarded $6 million in grant funds for obesity prevention projects to help young people eat smart and move more. Reflecting on all of its healthy weight grants, the John Rex Endowment concluded that overweight and obesity among Wake County children and youth is a complex community problem and requires a community solution. Working across institutions has challenges, yet it is critical to foster collaboration and align resources. Further, effective and sustainable policy and environment change strategies are dependent on meaningful and engaged participation by youth, families, professionals and other individuals impacted by childhood overweight and obesity. Based on lessons learned and a review of best practices, the John Rex Endowment has identified the following priorities for future healthy weight grants:

  • The foundation will actively encourage and promote cross-sector community collaboration in overweight and obesity prevention efforts.
  • The emphasis will be on settings where children and youth spend time with intentional regard for impact on underserved youth and children who are at-risk of being overweight or obese.
  • Ongoing healthy weight investments will also include support for the development of skills and capacity in implementing policy advocacy strategies.

“Children’s activity levels and eating habits are heavily influenced by factors beyond their control. Our investment in various healthy weight projects with specific strategies is founded on the understanding that there is no one single solution to the complex problem of childhood overweight and obesity but there are many opportunities for positive change.”

– Kevin Cain, President and CEO, John Rex Endowment

“With the John Rex Endowment funding, Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) has built a successful collaborative of partners, working together to make Wake County a place where healthy eating and active living are the norm. AHA is now the ‘Go To’ source for local foods, school wellness and organizational policy change.”

– Sheree Vodicka, Director of Wake County’s Advocates for Health in Action

Click here to read about the Healthy Places, Active Spaces Grants Program that was funded through the John Rex Endowment.

To learn more about the John Rex Endowment, visit

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