Meet the 2018 PHA Partner of the Year Award Winner

Logo for Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) partner Mercedes Benz USA. Our Partner of the Year Award – part of our annual Catalyst for Change Awards – is all about honoring PHA partners that go beyond the key strategies of a commitment with us. That means working to ensure healthier choices are more affordable and accessible to all Americans, while also focusing on populations disproportionately impacted by obesity; doing well while doing good; using innovative approaches to address the health issue; and, creating a ripple effect within its industry. This year, that honor goes to Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA).

When research suggests 32.5% of black children and 38.9% of Latino/a children have obesity or are overweight, compared to 28.5% of white children in America, we’re glad to see partners like Mercedes-Benz USA step in to fill the needs of communities in need.

Mercedes-Benz USA and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation youth program in New Orleans.

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation/Mercedes-Benz USA

Back in 2014, Mercedes-Benz USA pledged $10.5 million to build a national, sports-based youth coaching force to be distributed through grants to Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, with an eye toward cities with the highest rates of childhood obesity. One of the first to benefit? The New Orleans chapter of Girls on the Run, which received a $165,000 capacity building grant that allowed the program to expands its efforts and hire new staff.

And in 2017, our partner MBUSA and Laureus accomplished even more:

  • 87% of Girls on the Run New Orleans participants reported being athletic and healthier
  • 78% of NOLA Kicks participants demonstrated increased physical literacy
  • 98% of Playworks school staff reported 98% of students increased their physical activity
  • 93% of Chicago Run participants engaged in physical activity at least 3x a week
  • All Elevate New Orleans participants demonstrated improved nutrition habits.

That year, Laureus USA and MBUSA supported the training of 7,072 and placement of 679 youth sport coach mentors in 149 metropolitan areas across the country, reaching 389,507 young people. And in just one year, 138,000 youth experienced increased physical activity and a healthier lifestyle thanks to projects supported by Mercedes-Benz. The commitment to underserved populations sets an example, encouraging other organizations to follow their lead in investing in the health and development of disproportionately-affected youth.

Image of a children's soccer team. And the positive impact isn’t just for the kids participating in sport programs. Mercedes Benz’s work is even having an impact on its employees! By engaging in events and activities like the Sport for Good Atlanta Day, MBUSA has opened the doors for its employees to volunteer and even become coaches. Our partner reports that these initiatives contribute to social consciousness and satisfaction among employees, youth and its customer base. Through its work, Mercedes-Benz USA will create immediate as well as long-lasting health benefits, and we see its work as holding tremendous potential to make an impact in the fight against childhood obesity.

Mercedes-Benz will receive the award at our Fit to Celebrate Gala on September 27, 2018. Attendees can look forward to a celebratory evening with special guests, entertainment, and a presentation from this year’s Catalyst for Change Award winners including, Impact Award and Visionary CEO Award recipients. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

Previous winners of the Partner of the Year Award are Sodexo (2016) and The Learning Care Group (2017).

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