Nine cities awarded $745,000 in total to support community health, sustainability initiatives
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA) today announced the winners of the 2024 Childhood Obesity Prevention & Environmental Health & Sustainability awards, granting $745,000 to nine U.S. cities. The grants support cities’ initiatives to address childhood obesity, environmental health and sustainability by encouraging community members to engage in healthier behaviors.
The 2024 winners were announced during the 92nd Annual USCM Winter Meeting.
“America’s leading beverage companies are continuing to support healthy, sustainable communities across the nation alongside the mayors who know them best,” said Kevin Keane, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of American Beverage and president of the ABFHA board of directors. “We congratulate the mayors, the cities and the many initiatives working to drive positive change. We are proud to celebrate more than a decade of this partnership with The U.S. Conference of Mayors, and we look forward to a bright future as we strengthen communities together.”
“The scope and ambition of the projects we’ve been able to award not only this year, but for the past twelve years, is a testament to the role of cities as incubators of innovation,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of The United States Conference of Mayors. “We’re so proud of the level of investment we’ve made in such bold and enterprising community-focused environmental and public health initiatives across the country, with the longstanding and critical support of American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America. We look forward to continued innovation, and investment, in our cities.”
Since the launch of the partnership in 2012, the Childhood Obesity Prevention & Environmental Health and Sustainability awards have provided more than $6.5 million to 73 cities across the country. The awards have supported programs to enhance the health, wellness and environmental quality of life for children, families and communities.
The nine U.S. cities receiving 2024 awards are:
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Boston, Mass.
- Philadelphia, Pa.
- Alhambra, Calif.
- Bridgeport, Conn.
- Montgomery, Ala.
- Daytona Beach, Fla.
- Suisun City, Calif.
- New Albany, Ohio
First, second and third place awards were presented to cities within three categories based on population. Descriptions of each winning program can be found below:
1st Place: Daytona Beach, Fla. (Mayor Derrick L. Henry)
The Mayor’s Math & Fitness Bootcamp (MMFB) is a transformative initiative targeting underprivileged children ages five to 14. Designed to address the disparities in youth poverty, obesity, and academic performance, the program integrates exercise and dance seamlessly into grade-level mathematics education. With a focus on building self-esteem and confidence and promoting healthy lifestyle choices, the MMFB provides a unique and engaging approach to education.
2nd Place: City of Suisun, Calif. (Mayor Alma Hernandez)
Suisun City Fit addresses childhood obesity through dynamic quarterly youth runs and a six-week education class. The program aims to develop an affinity for exercise among local youth from elementary school age through ninth grade. Suisun City Fit combines inclusive running with practical life skills, fostering diverse and enjoyable exercise. Suisun City Fit stands out as a holistic initiative, promoting youth health and well-being while celebrating the city’s unique and beautiful outdoor spaces.
3rd Place: New Albany, Ohio (Mayor Sloan Spalding)
Through Fit & Fun Kids: Healthy Habits Heroes! (F2KH3), New Albany youth will be offered various experiences, from fun nutrition classes to outdoor adventures like the New Albany Trail Blazers. The initiative teams up with the Healthy New Albany Food Pantry, ensuring families have access to wholesome meals and snacks. By making health enjoyable and accessible, F2KH3 is a model for fostering well-being in kids and communities.
1st Place: Alhambra, Calif. (Mayor Ross J. Maza)
The goal of the San Gabriel Valley Regional Food Recovery Program is to redirect more than 3 million pounds of edible food from landfills to at least 288,000 food-insecure residents in the San Gabriel Valley.
2nd Place: Bridgeport, Conn. (Mayor Joe Ganim)
Cultivating Healthy Futures seeks to enhance the infrastructure of the city’s 15–20 community gardens, increasing garden usage, access to healthy foods, and boosting knowledge about nutrition, cooking, and gardening practices. The grant will support new training and education initiatives, offering gardening instruction and nutrition classes. The project will also sustain the East Side Farmer’s Market, which is facing closure due to funding loss, by covering costs and providing vouchers for free and reduced-price produce for vulnerable residents.
3rd Place: Montgomery, Ala. (Mayor Steven Reed)
Feeding the Soil, Feeding the Community will bring together municipal resources with local nonprofit organizations, businesses, and volunteers to build a community-scale composting program for the city of Montgomery. This initiative focuses on enhancing economic, social, and environmental well-being through public education on food waste, neighborhood composting projects, volunteer participation, and local compost distribution. Building on the success of similar projects in New York City, this endeavor supports public education, expands EAT South’s pilot program, establishes a compost demonstration center, adds new composting sites, and distributes compost to local community gardens.
1st Place: Pittsburgh, Pa. (Mayor Ed Gainey)
SoilMill PHG is addressing the challenge of organic waste in the United States, particularly food scraps and yard waste, that cause landfill issues. Pittsburgh’s SoilMill PGH Pilot will establish drop-off composting infrastructure and coordinate regional composting programs to remove organic waste from the waste stream. This unique approach creates a scalable compost program for the Greater Pittsburgh region to improve land, food, water, and air quality along with Public Works operations.
2nd Place – Boston, Mass. (Mayor Michelle Wu)
In collaboration with a wide range of community partnerships, Connect, Learn, Explore is an interdepartmental initiative by the City of Boston dedicated to making meaningful policy and infrastructure investments for the city’s children and their families. The program ensures that every child has opportunities to learn essential life skills such as swimming, biking, participating in sports, exploring the arts, and engaging in urban agriculture. Coordinated efforts across various city departments allow for a unique and diversified approach to preventing childhood obesity and promoting environmental awareness. Utilizing resources like sticker cards, the initiative aims to track progress and measure success in improving children’s overall well-being.
3rd Place – Philadelphia, Pa. (Mayor Cherelle Parker)
Established in 2004, Students Run Philly Style (SRPS) pairs students in grades six through 12 with adult volunteer mentors, creating life-changing experiences through long-distance running. The program, developed to address Philadelphia’s obesity epidemic, provides opportunities for youth and mentors to train together for races like the Blue Cross Broad Street 10-Miler and the Philadelphia Marathon. SRPS provides accessible physical activity, boosts self-esteem, and fosters goal setting. Free for enrolled students, SRPS expands its impact by initiating programs in schools facing high obesity risks and collaborating with organizations like Drexel University’s Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice. With proven outcomes, SRPS plans to benefit approximately 200 Philadelphia youth in up to 10 schools, using funds to address participation barriers in marginalized communities. Recognized for adaptability, SRPS extends its model to serve LGBTQ+ youth and those in the juvenile justice system, highlighting its potential for positive impact and resilience.