MDE News


by Jul 09, 2013



Bower Foundation and Mississippi Department of Education Partner for Grants

JACKSON, Miss. July 9, 2013 – The Bower Foundation has awarded the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Healthy Schools $540,000 to fund the Nutrition Integrity 2014 Program, which will allow schools to purchase and install new equipment in school kitchens.  Schools may apply for the grant to replace schools’ existing deep-fat fryers with combination oven steamers. The ovens use super-heated steam to cook foods with less fat, saturated fat and trans fat.  In addition, the Foundation is funding a $60,000 pilot program to provide additional training to school staff in the operation of the combination oven steamers. 

“Improving nutrition and physical activity levels for Mississippi school children is a priority of the foundation,” said Anne Travis, CEO of The Bower Foundation. “Healthy children are more likely to be academically successful.”

The Bower Foundation has provided funding for 134 schools to install the combination steamer ovens in 100 school districts since 2006. Through its partnership with OHS, Bower also works to improve the health of Mississippi students through several additional nutrition and physical activity projects.

“School meals are one of the most important ways to ensure that children are fit, healthy and ready to succeed,” said Scott Clements, Director of MDE’s Office of Healthy Schools. “This new oven steamer will help schools serve breakfasts and lunches that are as nutritious and delicious as possible for children in our state.  We are also excited about the additional training component in the Nutrition Integrity 2014 program.  Schools will be allowed to send staff to training sessions on how to use the new equipment and healthy meal preparation.”

Kitchen staffs have been pleased with the higher quality food and grease-free work environment. Installing new kitchen equipment and practicing lower-fat cooking are just two of the many ways that schools can focus on the health of students.

“Mississippi is leading the way in improving the health of our school children through the partnership of the Mississippi Board of Education, the Mississippi Legislature, the Mississippi Department of Health and the continued support of the Bower Foundation,” said Dr. Lynn House, Interim State Superintendent of Education. “The Legislature passed a law to increase physical activity and health education in the classroom. The Board of Education set new standards for food and drinks in our school vending machines, and the Bower Foundation maintains its ongoing commitment to provide grants for schools to replace fryers with steamers. These combined efforts have helped schools to create an environment that supports healthy behaviors.”

Anne Travis agrees. “Schools are where major shifts in health are going to start. By starting to reinforce healthy eating behaviors now, we’re not only helping schools educate more successful students, but we also helping Mississippi’s future.”

To learn more about the Office of Healthy Schools initiatives, click here: and

Founded in 1996, The Bower Foundation is focused on the development of strategies to improve the health of Mississippians. As a funder of important projects and initiatives throughout the state, Bower has made the development of healthy lifestyles for Mississippi children a core priority. 

The Mississippi Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools (OHS) offers a system of coordinated school health services to Mississippi’s 151 school districts to assist them in developing organizations that make the connection between good student health and high academic achievement.

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For More Information:
Jana Brady
The Ramey Agency


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