Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens Top 100 Worldwide As Program Kicks-Off Third Year of Offering Scho

Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens Top 100 Worldwide As Program Kicks-Off Third Year of Offering School Garden Grants That Help Teach Children Multicultural Respect, Hunger Relief and Nutrition

Yum! Brands Foundation Underwrites Peace Garden Initiative as Extension of World Hunger Relief Effort through Partnership with National Gardening Association

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Muhammad Ali Center is proud to announce its third annual "Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens" grant program. Since the program's inception in 2010, over 100 garden projects in seven countries have been established, touching the lives of more than 10,000 children. Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens promote respect for different cultures, hunger relief and nutrition through gardening.

The program is funded by Yum! Brands Foundation. Yum! Brands' commitment to the program includes $100,000 in awards to establish multicultural gardens in underprivileged schools through 2014, as well as contributions of educational materials and a classroom curriculum translated into six languages. The National Gardening Association, a recognized leader in the field, is providing assistance with curriculum development and the grant process.

Named after global humanitarian and sports icon, Muhammad Ali, the Peace Gardens program brings youth of different cultures together for a good cause. This year, fifty winners will be selected from around the globe to receive a $500 garden package to enhance or begin a garden program. Past recipients have included projects across the U.S., and in Pakistan, Mexico, Grenada and Haiti to name a few.

"We are so proud to be part of this effort to bring gardens to communities in need," says Michael Metallo, President and CEO of the National Gardening Association. "This collaboration has connected over 100 youth garden programs worldwide, giving students the opportunity to learn about different cultures while increasing their access to healthy foods."

The initiative is based on a successful pilot program undertaken by the John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky. The teacher-led project helped nearly 600 pre-school to fifth grade students from Asia, South America, Russia, Cuba, and the U.S., learn how to work across cultures to build gardens with plants from around the world. The students participated in every phase of the project, including planting, nurturing, harvesting, cooking and donating food to the hungry.

Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center, commented on the center's dedication to the program. "The Ali Center, and the Alis themselves believe that the Peace Gardens initiative can have a lasting impact by bringing together youth in a unique and universal way. We're confident that, through gardening, we can achieve greater cross-cultural understanding among this generation," noted Lassere. "We are also pleased that this project brings youth closer to nature and provides a lesson on the value of giving back to their communities."

"It's wonderful to see that in just two years, there are now more than 100 Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens around the world," said Amy Sherwood, Vice President, Public Relations, Yum! Brands, Inc. "Each garden is teaching valuable lessons that will stay with the children throughout their lives. They are not only learning the importance of respect, but also about nutrition and hunger relief, feeding those less fortunate," added Sherwood.

Educators can access a free downloadable teacher guide at all of the partner websites, including:,, and

The deadline to apply for a Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden grant is January 2, 2013. Winners will be announced March 7, 2013. Apply Now at

About The Muhammad Ali Center

Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie founded the Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 organization, in 2005 and chose for their headquarters site, their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international multicultural center promotes the six core principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, multiculturalism, gender equity, global citizenship, and compassion. Its newest initiative, Generation Ali, fosters a new generation of leaders to contribute positively to their communities and to change the world for the better. The Center's headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please visit

About Yum! Brands and World Hunger Relief

Yum! Brands' World Hunger Relief is the world's largest private sector hunger relief effort, spanning more than 120 countries, over 38,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants and more than 1 million employees and franchise associates. The campaign raises awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and other hunger relief agencies.

Since Yum! Brands' World Hunger Relief launched in 2007, more than 1 million of the Company's employees, franchisees and their families have volunteered millions of hours to aid hunger relief efforts in communities worldwide. The effort has raised $115 million for WFP and other hunger relief organizations and is helping to provide 460 million meals and save the lives of millions of people in remote corners of the world.

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, is the world's largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants with over 38,000 restaurants in more than 120 countries and territories. Yum! is ranked #213 on the Fortune 500 List with revenues of more than $12 billion in 2011. The Company's restaurant brands - KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell - are the global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. Outside the United States, the Yum! Brands system opened approximately four new restaurants each day of the year, making it a leader in international retail development.

About The National Gardening Association

For forty years, National Gardening Association has been a national nonprofit leader in nature-based education, respected for its award-winning, information-rich websites and newsletters; grants, curricula, and resources for youth gardens; and research for the lawn and garden industry. NGA's mission is to promote home, school, and community gardening as a means to renew and sustain essential connections between people, plants, and the environment. To learn more about gardening with children, please visit

National Gardening Association
Mike Metallo
Muhammad Ali Center
Jeanie Kahnke, 502-992-5301
Yum! Brands, Inc.
Virginia Ferguson

KEYWORDS: United States North America Kentucky


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