21 Strangest Coca-Cola Partnerships

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

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.


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