Dodgers Foundation commits $200,000 to fund breakfast in L.A. classrooms

LOS ANGELES - Dodger outfielder Andre Ethier will visit Nightingale Middle School in Cypress Park at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, as part of a new partnership between the LA Fund For Public Education (LA Fund) and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) in support of the School Fuel program. LADF has committed $200,000 to School Fuel, a program that provides universal breakfast to nearly half a million students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). LADF's support of the program begins now through the 2014-15 school year and includes classroom distribution of 24 million breakfast trays and more than 6 million Dodger milk cartons per month featuring Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

"LADF strongly believes that children who are healthy can achieve far greater results in the classroom than those who are unhealthy and lack basic nutrition," said Dodger owner and LADF board member Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "We are thrilled to announce our support of the School Fuel program, a collaboration that has the potential to impact the lives of more than 650,000 LAUSD students and their families."

"We are so grateful for this partnership with LADF and we know that their involvement will give students another reason to be excited about sharing a meal in their classroom community," said education activist, Megan Chernin, CEO of the LA Fund. "With this new partnership we will be able to grow School Fuel, create educational materials for students and parents and continue to support LAUSD teachers' efforts to help students develop healthy habits for life."

LADF is the exclusive sports team partner of School Fuel. In 2012, the LA Fund, in partnership with LAUSD, launched the School Fuel initiative with the Breakfast in the Classroom program to eliminate the stigma associated with receiving free or reduced breakfast. This program has championed the addition of more nutritious options for the students as well as created and provided a nutrition education program for students and their families. Before breakfast in the classroom began, only 29 percent of all LAUSD students eligible for free or reduced breakfast participated and today more than 360,000 students enjoy the breakfast in the classroom program, an increase of more than 200,000 students.

Ethier will join a 6th grade math and science class at Nightingale Middle School during first period Friday to share breakfast with them and talk about healthy habits and the importance of succeeding in school. All students in the class will also receive four tickets to a pre-selected game this season courtesy of LADF.

"As a parent, I know how important it is to me and my wife Maggie to provide our two kids with nutritious meals daily starting with breakfast," said Ethier. "School Fuel is a crucial program for LA schools and I look forward to seeing how it works firsthand when I visit with the 6th graders at Nightingale Middle School tomorrow morning. It's also important to me to encourage kids to do well in school, which I plan to do tomorrow too."

Ethier has been active in the LA community since joining the club in 2006, having dedicated most of his time toward raising awareness of hunger and homelessness in LA for the Union Rescue Mission since 2007. The Dodger outfielder has also served food to the homeless at the Weingart Center on skid row in Los Angeles. In addition to annual visits to the Union Rescue Mission, Ethier has supported several Make-A-Wish Foundation projects and has hosted holiday shopping sprees for underserved youth and Carne Asada Sunday events at Dodger Stadium with proceeds benefitting LADF and Union Rescue Mission. Ethier has also donated his time on several hospital visits, community caravan appearances and autograph sessions for Dodger fans throughout greater Los Angeles.

For more information on LADF, please visit Media interested in attending Ethier's visit to Nightingale Middle School tomorrow should contact the Dodgers' PR department by replying to this email or by calling (323) 224-1301.

About LA Fund For Public Education

Founded in 2011 by Superintendent Dr. John Deasy and Education Activist Megan Chernin, the LA Fund for Public Education invests in results-oriented programs designed to ensure that every student in the nation's second largest school system has the chance to succeed.

The LA Fund is positioned to lead scalable innovations that reach all corners of Los Angeles. Working directly with classroom teachers as well as district leadership, the LA Fund has a proven track record of creating meaningful systemic change in the second largest school system.