NEW YORK — Texas's Dixie Elementary School (Tyler); Yehovah Yireh Foundation (Dime Box); City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department (Houston); and Faith, Hope and Charity: Concerned Citizen Organization for Youth (Marlin) are among 81 recipients of Nickelodeon (Nick) grants designed to help foster healthy and active lifestyles within local communities. The network is distributing a total of $600,000 to schools and other organizations across the United States as part of its 2004 “Let's Just Play” program.

Ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, Nick awarded the grants to applicants across the country with a comprehensive plan for encouraging play in their area. Applications were judged on a competitive basis according to the range and scope of the project, creativity, accountability and the effect it would potentially have on participants. In 2004, more than 1,800 grant applications were received from every state in the country for the program, expressing more than $9 million in need — many times for basic equipment.

“Of the applications we received, the majority requested funds for basic necessities such as athletic equipment, clearly demonstrating that it does not take an exorbitant amount of money to assist,” Marva Smalls, Nick executive vice president of public affairs, said in a release about the grants. “Small amounts can yield big results for a community and will make-up for budget cuts elsewhere.”

Nick also announced plans to commit $1.5 million to this year's program.