The YMCA of Greater New York and PepsiCo Foundation Partner to Help New York City Teens Develop Healthy Lifestyles

Grant Enables Expansion of Y-MVP: Innovative App-Based Program That Motivates Kids to Increase Physical Activity

(Left to right) Gary Laermer, Chief Development Officer, YMCA of Greater New York, Lori Rose Benson, Vice President of Healthy Lifestyles, YMCA of Greater New York, Deborah Rosado Shaw, senior vice president and Chief Global Diversity and Engagement Officer at PepsiCo, Jack Lund, President & CEO, YMCA of Greater New York, and Sue Norton, Vice President, Global Citizenship and Sustainability, PepsiCo Foundation join together to celebrate the expansion of the Y-MVP program. (Photo: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--()--Today the PepsiCo Foundation and the YMCA of Greater New York announced a $500,000 two-year leadership grant to help fund the expansion of the Y-MVP Teen Fitness Program, an innovative approach to physical activity that marries technology and movement. The PepsiCo Foundation grant will bring this innovative digital game program to thousands of teens (ages 12-17) in the five boroughs of New York City, to increase their daily low levels of activity to Moderate to Vigorous Physical activity. According to a 2010 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 77% of children aged 9–13 report taking part in an hour of daily physical activity. In a 2013 survey, by high school only 29% percent of teens meet the recommended level. Y-MVP is designed to counter this sharp drop-off.

The goal of the program is to provide teens the myriad benefits of physical activity, including improved health and energy, and stronger relationships with friends. Y-MVP successfully capitalizes on the popularity of digitally connected learning and gamification strategies to promote the value of a healthy lifestyle, and in turn the program builds a community of young people that appreciate the benefits of physical activity.

The expansion of Y-MVP will help extend the positive impact that the program has already driven. According to data collected on the program, enrolled youth increased their physical activities at the Y by 36%. Among teens at the participating YMCA branches, 79% reported feeling better about their health as a result of Y-MVP, and 88% said the program helped them be a more active person.

“We are deeply grateful for the PepsiCo Foundation’s investment in the Y-MVP program, which is vital to the Y’s commitment to tackling childhood obesity in New York City,” said Jack Lund, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater New York. “The Y works hard each and every day to make New York a stronger, and healthier City. Childhood obesity is a critical issue that the Y is uniquely positioned to address through our quality programs and services for kids.”

The PepsiCo Foundation has experience creating and supporting programs that promote healthy lifestyles. Through numerous grants and partnerships, PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation have enabled many people to engage in physical activity.

“PepsiCo recognizes that our Latino and African American communities not only need access to healthier options, but increased education and awareness of healthier lifestyles,” said Deborah Rosado Shaw, senior vice president and Chief Global Diversity and Engagement Officer at PepsiCo. “We are proud to support the YMCA in their effort to create new programming that engages youth to be active and take charge of their health.”

Tackling a New York City Epidemic

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, four in ten public school students are obese or overweight—with Big Apple youth more likely than their peers nationwide to be obese (21% vs. 17%) and/or overweight (18% vs. 14%). Childhood overweight and obesity disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities in New York City. Studies have also found that overweight and obese children are less physically fit, and that students with better physical fitness have higher academic test scores.


Teens enrolled in the program participate in the Fitness Challenge, a training program where the kids engage in a series of game-like physical activities delivered by a trained coach. Participants meet as a small class to take on fitness “quests.” At the end of each class, they receive a fitness “mission” they need to complete before the next class. Y-MVP follows a set of lessons that are designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to develop their own customized fitness routines. Lessons are aligned with New York State and national standards on physical education.

Program participants record their workout and check on their progress through the Y-MVP app. As they record activities, they earn digital achievement badges that recognize their effort. Teens also earn tangible rewards by completing weekly fitness missions. To successfully complete the Y-MVP Fitness Challenge, participants need to earn a series of digital badges, which acknowledge their individual accomplishments and understanding of fitness principles. Participants are encouraged to share their badges and earned rewards on social media sites, while a Timeline and a Leaderboard in the app show users accomplishments and reinforce the importance of daily physical activity.

About the YMCA of Greater New York

The YMCA of Greater New York is, and always will be, dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves New York City’s health and well-being and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In scores of neighborhoods across the five boroughs and its camp upstate, the Y makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower more than 500,000 New Yorkers to learn, grow and thrive. Visit Follow us on Twitter @ymcanyc and Facebook at

About the PepsiCo Foundation

Established in 1962, the PepsiCo Foundation is the philanthropic anchor of PepsiCo, responsible for providing charitable contributions to eligible non-profit organizations. The Foundation is committed to developing sustainable partnerships and programs in underserved regions that provide opportunities for improved health, environment and education. For more information, please visit:

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $66 billion in net revenue in 2013, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose—our goal to deliver top-tier financial performance while creating sustainable growth in shareholder value. In practice, Performance with Purpose means providing a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; finding innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment and reduce our operating costs; providing a safe and inclusive workplace for our employees globally; and respecting, supporting and investing in the local communities where we operate.



YMCA of Greater New York
Ellen Murphy, 212-630-9699


YMCA of Greater New York
Ellen Murphy, 212-630-9699