21 Strangest Coca-Cola Partnerships

How weird is it that these health campaigns are funded by a soda company in 2015?

Kyle Pfister
Sep 30, 2015 · 5 min read

by Kyle Pfister, Ninjas for Health

The following health efforts received funding from Coca-Cola in 2015, according to the company’s voluntary disclosure that it spent $118 million on partnerships with health organizations. Join me in asking these health leaders to stop their Coke partnership and sign a pledge to reject soda industry funds.

  1. The US Tennis Association’s “Arthur Ashe Kids Day” ($42,000): Arthur Ashe said he had arms and legs “thin as soda straws” as a kid. Don’t think he meant soda should be part of tennis camp.

2. Girls on the Run — Las Vegas ($50,000): Think they’re hydrating the runners with Coca-Cola?

3. This “Young Legislators” Class ($2,500) is getting a real lesson about corporate influence over health policy.

4. Harvard Medical School’s “Global Healthy Equity Research Fellowship Program” ($100,000) is funded by an organization that targets Black and Latino kids with soda advertising.

5. The Sacramento Children’s Museum ($15,000) is sending a terrible nutrition message to kids.

6. The Cincinnati Center for Closing the Health Gap ($10,000): Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities with funding from a company that causes them.

7. The National Foundation for Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness ($1,000,000) For a million dollars, do you think they give out ribbons for fastest corporate sponsorship?

8. The University Of Iowa/Iowa City Bike Share Program ($50,000): That’s certainly sending a mixed health message to college students.

9. American Lung Association’s Oxygen Ball ($2,500): It wouldn’t be a party without some good old fashioned sugar water.

10. Park Families Wellness Initiative ($830,000): This is a huuuuge donation. I wonder how that happened?

11. American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life ($1,000): They’re an obesity prevention champion, so why accept this dinky donation from Coke?

12. St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital Celebrity Poker Tournament ($20,000): This partnership is pretty tragic given their impeccable reputation for children’s health.

13. The Obesity Society’s Student Travel Grants ($10,750): Think they all ride a Coke bus to the obesity conference to learn about the relationship between soda consumption and diabetes?

14. American College of Sports Medicine($45,000): For being so concerned with optimal nutrition, sports has a weird relationship with Coca-Cola that I don’t really understand.

15. American College of Cardiology ($450,000): Heart health FTW. This one luckily is ending… maybe they’ll pledge never to do it again?

16. The American Academy of Pediatrics ($303,600) funded their web resource healthychildren.org with Coke dollars.

17. 100 Black Men of the Bay Area’s Tommy Smith Youth Track Event ($5,000): Youth running and Coca-Cola… seems to be a trend.

18. Boys & Girls Clubs of America Triple Play Program ($1,000,000): The Boys & Girls Club has a pretty terrible track record of accepting unethical corporate partnerships.

19. Far West Wheelchair Association Valor Games ($2,500): This race sounds like a blast. Let’s find them a new sponsor.

20. Path Foundation’s “Walk Georgia: Make the Connection” Campaign ($200,000) doesn’t seem to make the connection between health and soda consumption.

21. American Academy of Family Physicians ($600,000) is another family health website (familydoctor.org) funded with soda bucks. WTF?

I created a Twitter list of these health organizations. Join me in asking them to stop their Coca-Cola partnership and sign a pledge to reject soda industry funding.

Let’s start a wave of soda divestment.

Want to take action?
Click here to become a ninja.


Leaked Emails from an Unhealthy Industry

Kyle Pfister

Written by

Founder of Ninjas for Health, a public health innovation team. Join the movement at ninjasforhealth.com



Leaked Emails from an Unhealthy Industry

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade