Coke Discloses Millions in Grants for Health Research and Community Programs
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Coca-Cola, the world’s largest maker of sugary beverages, has spent almost $120 million in the past five years to pay for academic health research, partnerships with major medical groups and community fitness programs aimed at curbing the obesity epidemic.
The list, published Tuesday on the company’s website, details hundreds of Coke grants, large and small, to a variety of organizations since 2010, including physician groups, university researchers, cancer and diabetes organizations and public parks, and even a foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
The list was released after the company’s chief executive, Muhtar Kent, promised to be transparent about its partnerships and support for scientific research related to obesity. The move was prompted by criticism that the company has used its vast resources to play down the role of Coke products in the spread of obesity, an issue first reported last month in The New York Times.
In a statement, Sandy Douglas, the president of Coca-Cola North America, emphasized that the company’s philanthropic efforts were for the public good.
“Our engagement and financial support of these well-respected experts, institutions and organizations were made with the best of intentions – to inform our business, support our local communities and support solutions to the public health issues facing people across the United States and around the world,” Mr. Douglas wrote.
The detailed list of grants shows the company’s remarkable reach across the United States and beyond. Beneficiaries included a number of medical and health groups, including $3.1 million to the American College of Cardiology, more than $3.5 million to the American Academy of Family Physicians, nearly $3 million to the American Academy of Pediatrics, $2 million to the American Cancer Society and roughly $1.7 million to the country’s largest organization of dietitians, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.