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What is the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY)’s mission?

The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth is responsible for statewide efforts to reduce and prevent youth tobacco use, substance use and childhood obesity in Virginia.

How long has VFHY been around?

VFHY was established by the General Assembly in 1999; the foundation began its work in 2001. The foundation was initially given the mission of reducing and preventing youth tobacco use. The General Assembly added childhood obesity prevention and reduction to our mission in 2010 and substance use in 2017.

What does VFHY do?

VFHY takes a multifaceted approach to reducing and preventing youth tobacco use. VFHY’s classroom-based prevention programs reach 50,000 children in public schools, preschools and other youth centers across Virginia. VFHY provides funding, training and curricula for these educational prevention programs. VFHY also oversees the award-winning “Y do u think” multimedia campaign, delivering prevention messaging to more than 500,000 children in Virginia each year. Our Y Street volunteer group for high school students was named the top youth advocacy group in the nation for tobacco-use prevention. VFHY also provides funding and training for local Healthy Communities Action Teams. Located across the state, these childhood obesity prevention coalitions work on the local level undertaking activities such as improving access to healthy foods and increasing opportunities for physical activity. Every January, VFHY sponsors the annual Virginia Healthy Youth Day, which is celebrated by more than 5,600 children across Virginia. VFHY also co-sponsors Virginia’s Weight of the State childhood obesity prevention conferences.

Is VFHY successful?

VFHY has been very successful at reducing youth tobacco use in Virginia. When VFHY began its mission in 2001, Virginia’s high school smoking rate was slightly above the national average; more than 10 years later, Virginia’s teen smoking rate is well below the national average. High school smoking in Virginia has been cut from 28.6 percent in 2001 to 6.5 percent in 2017.

Is VFHY a state agency?

The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its executive director and governing board of trustees is appointed by the Governor of Virginia. Its board of trustees also includes members of the General Assembly as well as Virginia’s Health Commissioner and ABC Commissioner. VFHY also falls under the direction of the state Secretary of Health and Human Resources.

Is VFHY run by tobacco companies?


Does VFHY receive taxpayer money?

No. VFHY receives no taxpayer funds. VFHY is entirely funded through a 8.5% share of Virginia’s annual Master Settlement Agreement payments.

What is the Master Settlement Agreement?

In 1998, the Attorneys General of 46 states, including Virginia, signed the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with the four largest tobacco manufacturers in the United States to settle state suits to recover costs associated with treating smoking-related illness. The spirit and intent of the MSA was to provide states with funding for prevention programs that would ultimately lower the prevalence of tobacco use, thus lowering medical costs to care for citizens with tobacco-related diseases. According to the MSA, the tobacco manufacturers are projected to pay the settling states in excess of $200 billion over 25 years. Virginia is expected to receive $4 billion. VFHY receives 8.5% of Virginia’s annual MSA payments to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use and childhood obesity.

What does VFHY offer grants for? Can I ask for money from VFHY?

VFHY offers grants every two to three years for youth tobacco prevention programs and community coalitions to fight childhood obesity. These grants are released through a peer-reviewed RFP process and are subject to approval from VFHY’s governing board of trustees. VFHY does not accept solicitations for money from individuals and organizations outside of these RFP processes.

Does VFHY fund economic development initiatives?

No. VFHY does not fund economic development projects. People sometimes confuse VFHY with the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission because both agencies are funded through the Master Settlement Agreement and both agencies are located in adjacent suites in the same building. However, VFHY is not affiliated with the commission.

Will VFHY advertise on my TV station or in my publication?

Decisions regarding VFHY advertising placements are made by media buyers contracted with VFHY’s marketing department via a RFP process. VFHY does not place individual ads in publications or on broadcast stations.