Sep. 21, 2023

More than half a million dollars to be awarded annually to four cities with African American mayors to promote nutrition access, affordability, and education

(WASHINGTON, DC) - As part of an ongoing partnership between the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA), five cities with African American mayors will receive significant grants to advance essential programs that improve community health and address health disparities. Mayors will be able to apply the funds towards vital resources such as community gardens, mobile veggie and fruit stands and food security programs, and attract additional investments for the nutrition issues their cities are facing.

One-third of America’s biggest cities are led by African American mayors, leaders who best understand what their communities need and how to achieve results.

“We are thrilled to again be able to offer these important grants to our member mayors as they work to eradicate health inequities and eliminate health disparities long suffered by African Americans in their cities,” said Phyllis Dickerson, CEO of AAMA. “Our mayors are working tirelessly to improve access to affordable, nutritious foods and provide nutrition education so families can make informed choices.”

ABFHA and AAMA will award five grants totaling $600,000 annually over a three-year period to five cities. One $200,000 grant will be awarded to a large-sized city with a population of 250,000 or more, and two grants of $125,000 each will be given to mid-sized cities with populations between 100,000 and 250,000. Building on the success of our inaugural nutrition grant, an additional $75,000 grant has been added this year allowing for two grants to be awarded to small-sized cities. 

Funds from the program will go directly toward:

  • City programs that demonstrate measurable progress in increasing access to affordable basic nutrition needs
  • Educational components that help market the program to a mayor’s community
  • Community outreach or to help educate citizens about the benefits of the programs
  • Programs with an initial investment that will attract matching grants or other investment dollars. 

“We must do our part to shine a light on challenges, come up with solutions and bring about healthier outcomes for the most vulnerable in our cities,” AAMA President and Mayor of Mt. Vernon, NY Shawyn Patterson-Howard said. “Our mayors will use these grants for good to build stronger and more educated communities, better equipped to make sound nutritional decisions for their families. I look forward to celebrating our winning mayors and cities.” 

As we know, data shows America’s beverage companies have a proven track record of taking bold actions in support of communities. In 2006 the beverage industry voluntarily removed full-calorie soft drinks from schools, leading to a 94% reduction in beverage calories in schools. The beverage industry’s product innovation and calorie awareness campaigns are driving a consumer shift toward more low- and zero sugar beverages. Today, nearly 60% of beverages purchased have zero sugar.

“We know that mayors are the problem solvers, the leaders who step up for their communities. The people who make up the American beverage industry live and work in your cities and towns and we too are working to build healthy, strong communities,” said Kevin Keane, president and CEO of American Beverage.

“We’ve seen firsthand how valuable these grants are to help get successful programs off the ground,” Keane said. “We are thrilled to partner with the African American Mayors Association to support mayors in their efforts to make their communities better for all.”

Grant winners will be selected by a panel of judges composed of former mayors chosen by AAMA. The winning cities will be announced at the 2024 AAMA Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA.

For more information on the grants, please visit AAMA’s website here