For 130 years, The Coca-Cola Company has provided moments of happiness to millions of consumers around the world. Coke is a global icon with a keen focus on the issues that matter most to the people who live, work and thrive in their local markets.
For 155 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) has provided out-of-school time opportunities for youth across the country. Our mission: to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential.
Together, Coke and BGCA have endeavored to meet the needs of children, teens and families across the country for the last 70 years, and on U.S. military installations worldwide for the past 25 years. Since 1946, our shared connection to local communities and the national fabric has been enhanced by our national partnership. The unique and dynamic history we share is due, in large part, to former Coca-Cola President Robert Woodruff.
Mr. Woodruff joined our national board in 1946. His ensuing leadership helped shape a commitment to youth that has since impacted the Club Experience for millions of young people across multiple generations. Subsequent Coca-Cola leaders such as Luke Smith, Roberto Goizueta, Doug Ivester, Doug Daft and Neville Isdell also contributed their insights and business acumen as BGCA board members. Additionally, dozens of Coca-Cola system representatives have contributed to the legacy of generosity and local impact established by Mr. Woodruff by serving on BGCA boards. The Woodruff Foundation also played an integral part to help BGCA relocate its national headquarters from New York City to Atlanta in the early 1990s.
For 70 years, Coke has been a consistent partner of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, including supporting our priority efforts to ensure all youth are on track to graduate from high school, on time, with a plan for the future. Coke also donates Dasani and POWERADE to Clubs, and regularly provides Club members with fun, exceptional opportunities like visiting Six Flags theme parks and the World of Coca-Cola, attending sporting events, and meeting Olympic and professional athletes.
To assist BGCA in fulfilling our mission, Coke has leveraged the power of some of the world’s best-known brands. This includes Dasani on-pack promotions and the POWERADE campaign, “Just a Kid.” More recently, BGCA partnered with Sprite during our ongoing Year of the Teen national strategy to develop “Lyricism 101.” As our first ever hip-hop cypher curriculum, we are confident the hip-hop program’s fresh perspective will help Club kids to hone their outlooks and apply their voices in a way that is familiar and accessible to them.
Whether it’s supporting military youth and their families through a BGCA’s Public Private Partnership with the U.S. Armed Services, enlisting customers like Family Dollar to facilitate corporate partnerships for Boys & Girls Clubs, or donating cases of Dasani water to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Flint in Michigan, Coca-Cola’s support of Boys & Girls Clubs is vast and far reaching.
At its core, the strength of our partnership is built upon a dedicated group of people committed to our nation achieving its greatest potential. In fact, it’s not only a partnership. It is a long-lasting friendship, one that has united two quintessentially American organizations. Over the past 70 years, The Coca-Cola Company’s support of BGCA has reached and impacted millions of America’s youth.
BGCA is deeply grateful for this invaluable partnership and look forward to making the next 70 years even better – when we celebrate Coca-Cola’s 200th birthday!
Jim Clark is president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.