Coca-Cola has a 126-year history of inspiring moments of happiness. Whether it’s around the dinner table or at a newly renovated park, Coca-Cola brings people together.  We recognize that our success depends on the health and sustainability of the communities where we operate. For this reason, we are dedicated to supporting programs in our neighborhoods that encourage healthy, balanced lifestyles. Working together, we’re helping create healthier, sustainable communities with brighter futures.

Over the last year Coca-Cola has given more than $13 million to support fitness and nutrition education programs around the country. We want people – our coworkers, neighbors, friends and families – moving more.  Grants from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, are making a significant impact by creating opportunities for more nutrition education and physical activity programs through local and national organizations.

Check out some of the great work we’re doing in the U.S. and Canada here.

Coca-Cola Grant Brings Together Chicago Parks District & Veterans to Lead Largest Affordable Wellness Program in the City

Today in Chicago, Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, along with Coca-Cola Refreshments’ President and CEO Steve Cahillane and Chicago Park District Superintendent Mike Kelley, announced a multi-year $3 million Coca-Cola Foundation grant to Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, part of the Chicago Park District (CPD).  This grant will create the “Park Families Wellness Initiative” – the largest affordable wellness program in the city.  As other cities around the country continue to battle the obesity epidemic, the Park Families Wellness Initiative will bring affordable nutrition and active lifestyle programs for communities in Chicago who are most in need of wellness services.

The grant also supports the CPD in hiring U.S. veterans to teach military-style fitness classes. The “Troops for Fitness” program, in conjunction with the CPD’s “Fun with Food” nutrition education curriculum, will be available in more than 60 Chicago-based community facilities. These efforts will reach 125,000 residents annually by 2016, making the park district the leading provider of affordable health programs in the city.

UPDATE: Pictures and more information on Nov. 12 “Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness” event

In support of the Park Families Wellness Initiative, more than 200 Chicago teens, their families and other local organizations laced up their gym shoes and got moving this afternoon.  Coach Oliver McCain, U.S. Army Veteran and Chicago Park District Fitness Instructor, led the group in the park district’s inaugural “Troops for Fitness” boot camp class. Everyone who participated broke a sweat and learned what it means to “Drop and give me 20 pushups!”

After the class, the boot-campers, hungry for more activity, divided up into military-inspired groups to participate in several more physical activity and nutrition education workshops.  Group “Alpha” shuffled off to kick boxing while “Foxtrot” headed to Pilates.

“I want to thank the Coca-Cola Foundation for investing $3 million to the Parks District to expand this program…so we can live healthier, have a full exercise regimen and we’ll be a better city for it.– Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Mayor

“Nobody knows better than our elite armed services what it’s like to get in shape, what it’s like to stay in shape and the discipline that’s required.  And being a part of this program [Troops for Fitness] is going to drive a more healthy environment for children and we very much want to be a part of that.” - Steve Cahillane, President & CEO of Coca-Cola Refreshments

Veteran leading a workout with ropes

Steve Cahillane on Stage

Veterans hanging with Steve Cahillane

Pushups during bootcamp

Chicago youth working out with “Troops for Fitness”

Steve Cahillane speaking to the press. The following line behind him (from left to right): BJ Armstrong, former Chicago Bulls Championship player, Park District Board Member; Mike Kelly, Superintendent, Chicago Park District; Oliver McCain, Veteran and Chicago Park District Fitness Trainer; Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago

Katie Busch is Director Brand and Business Communications for Coca-Cola Refreshments.