New York City Department of Education Receives $1 Million Grant from Life Time Foundation to accelerate efforts to increase fresh and simply prepared foods, free of seven highly processed ingredients
Foundation support includes food label review and assistance in removing highly processed and artificial ingredients, impacting more than 1.1 million students

NEW YORK, Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- At a time when boosting health and immunity are at the forefront of conversations, the more than 1.1 million students served by the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) will benefit from a recent $1 million grant to accelerate healthier menus in schools, free of seven categories of undesirable ingredients, called "The Harmful 7".

The five-year grant is funded by the Life Time Foundation and will be facilitated by the Fund for Public Schools, the NYC DOE's non-profit partner focused on scaling outcome-driven initiatives and responding to emerging needs. This partnership will accelerate scratch cooking techniques, and the preparation of clean, wholesome and simply-prepared foods within the districts' more than 1,800 schools, while also working to eliminate the Harmful 7 categories of ingredients in all of the District's schools. The New York City Department of Education already prohibits many of these items from their food supply and was a pioneer in securing antibiotic free meats for the district. In partnership with The Life Time Foundation, the NYC DOE will work together to expand the great work already started. The Harmful 7 includes:

  • Trans fats and hydrogenated oils
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Hormones and antibiotics
  • Processed and artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial colors and flavors
  • Artificial preservatives
  • Bleached flour

In a year with great challenges and instability presented by the spread of COVID-19, the New York City Department of Education has made food security a top priority, making free meals available daily for all NYC children. Since the first day that schools were closed, the Office of Food and Nutrition Services provided meal service at more than 450 food hub sites in the city. The OFNS team never stopped ensuring that students and families had access to healthy and nutritious food.

As evidenced during the emergency feeding operation since March 2020, the New York City Department of Education is deeply committed to ensuring that students have access to the best possible meal. This includes meeting all USDA and NYC food standards guidelines and prohibiting additives that are commonly found in our food supply today. This long standing commitment to high quality food will continue to accelerate through this partnership.

The Life Time Foundation's Registered Dietitian, Megan Flynn, MPH, RD will team up with the Office of Food and Nutrition Services by providing ongoing label support to identify all products containing the Harmful 7 and recommend changes as needed, with the goal of increasing fresh food offerings and scratch cooking practices.

"We are thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with the New York City Department of Education," Kimo Seymour, Senior Vice President of Media and Events at Life Time, says. "We both believe access to healthy, nourishing meals is more important than ever during this crucial time in our country. It's our honor to join their efforts to increase scratch cooking practices and keep highly processed foods out of school meals, so students can reach their full potential."

The $1 million grant will be dedicated to strategic planning support, public relations consultation, equipment and other financial needs related to implementation of changes aligned with the goals of this partnership. 

The Life Time Foundation is a public charity started by Life Time, the nation's premier healthy lifestyle brand with more than 150 athletic clubs across North America, including Life Time Sky and four planned New York City destinations.  As of August 2020, the Life Time Foundation partners with 25 school districts across the country, which represent 242 million meals served to 1.5 million students per year.

About Life Time Foundation®
As a public charity created by Life Time, the Life Time Foundation is committed to helping children grow up strong, smart and loved. We believe that for children to reach their full potential, they must have access to nourishing meals. We partner with schools to eliminate foods containing highly processed and artificial foods in favor of wholesome, real food alternatives. Unlike many other charitable organizations in which a portion of donations is consumed by administrative costs, 100% of every dollar donated to the Life Time Foundation directly supports its mission because all administrative costs are contributed by Life Time, Inc. For more information, visit

About the New York City Department of Education
The New York City Department of Education is the department of the government of New York City that manages the city's public school system. The City School District of the City of New York is the largest school system in the United States, with over 1.1 million students taught in more than 1,800 separate buildings.

About the Fund for Public Schools
Since 1982, The Fund has secured unprecedented investment from foundations, businesses, and individuals, raising more than $532 million for the City's approximately 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students. By partnering directly with the NYC Department of Education, The Fund supports some of the most high-impact programs in 3K-12 education at the largest school district in the country by piloting innovative projects; accelerating promising, outcome-driven initiatives; and responding strategically to emerging needs across New York City public schools. To learn more, visit


SOURCE Life Time, Inc.

For further information: Life Time: Dan DeBaun // 612.669.5569 //; New York City Department of Education: Sarah Casanovas // 804-385-9784 //