Last Friday, Chuck Cadle, President and CEO of Destination ImagiNation, released a letter announcing the National Dairy Council had ended its decades-long sponsorship of Destination ImagiNation, a non-profit organization that provides educational programs for young people.

It leaves a $250,000 hole in the organization's annual budget. 

"Destination ImagiNation has worked strategically with NDC to effectively and successfully connect the dairy community and its messages of healthy diet and lifestyle with millions of children and adults involved in and supporting our organization throughout the U.S. and Canada (and 18 foreign countries)," he wrote in a letter to dairy farmers.

On Wednesday, the National Dairy Council responded:

"America’s dairy farmers, through the National Dairy Council®, have funded nutrition education at schools and beyond since 1915. In 2009 we launched a new, nationwide school education program that now includes more than 70,000 schools serving 36 million children here in the U.S. This program, known as Fuel Up to Play 60, is aimed at improving nutrition and physical activity habits among the nation’s youth, with a specific focus on increasing consumption of healthful dairy products while creating lifelong dairy consumers.

"Through this program we partner with more than a dozen leading health and nutrition organizations, the National Football League® and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Health and Human Services. In addition, the program appears on over 1 billion school milk containers and is supported by companies inside and outside the dairy industry.

"As part of our efforts to maximize activation of Fuel Up to Play 60, we looked at all our existing relationships and critically evaluated each for reach, impact and alignment. As a result of this analysis, we decided to end our relationship with Destination ImagiNation (DI). The DI program reaches about 125,000 children worldwide and we were happy to have helped make DI all it is today. We wish the children, parents, teachers and volunteers of DI continued great success."