Catalyst for Change Awards 2018

Each year, PHA recognizes partners and community leaders who exemplify positive change by developing solutions that allow children to grow up healthier. The third annual Catalyst for Change Awards—which include the PHA Partner of the Year Award, the PHA CEO of the Year Award, and the PHA Impact Award—were presented at the PHA Fit to Celebrate Gala on September 17, 2018.

The 2018 PHA Partner of the Year Award was presented to Mercedes-Benz USA and Laureus USA for their continued investment in communities in which children are disproportionately impacted by the nation’s obesity crisis. Mercedes-Benz USA and its dealer network invested a cumulative $12.6 million in Laureus USA, a nonprofit organization that issues grants to community sports programs nationwide to improve the lives of youth and unite people through the power of sport.

Together, Mercedes-Benz USA and Laureus USA have improved the health and development of hundreds of thousands of children and young adults living in under-resourced communities across the country.

PHA’s CEO of the Year Award recognizes leadership, vision, and dedication among company executives committed to making sure all children grow up at a healthy weight. In 2018, PHA chose Seth Goldman, Co-Founder and TeaEO Emeritus of Honest Tea and Executive Chair of Beyond Meat, for his dedication to providing healthier beverages to children and his successful efforts to scale innovative solutions.

Products in Honest Tea’s children’s line—Honest Kids beverages—have water as the first ingredient and are sweetened only with natural, organic fruit juice. In developing its Appley Ever After product, Honest Tea used focus groups to determine how low they could push the sugar content before children would reject the drink. In October 2017, it was picked up by McDonald’s for the Happy Meal, introducing 200 million young consumers to a low-sugar, healthier beverage.

“PHA’s mission is to look for things that are working and scale them. Seth’s innovation of Appley Ever After, a drink that significantly reduced the sugar content children are getting through beverages, particularly in low-income areas, was a game changer,” said PHA CEO Nancy E. Roman, acknowledging award winner Seth Goldman.

Honest Tea—the nation’s top-selling organic, bottled tea—was acquired by the Coca-Cola Company in 2011, becoming the first organic and Fair Trade brand to be included in the world’s largest beverage distribution system.

The PHA Impact Award recognizes groups or individuals who spark change at the community level, achieve measurable impact, and use innovative approaches to reduce childhood obesity. In 2018, two winners were chosen: Brighter Bites and the Walking Classroom Institute.

Brighter Bites delivers fresh produce and nutrition education to families and teachers across the country. For 16 weeks during the school year and eight weeks during the summer, the organization supplies each participant with two bags of produce containing two servings per day of fresh fruits and vegetables for a family of four—all free of charge. Since the program began in 2012, it has delivered more than 18 million pounds of healthy food to more than 265,000 individuals in Austin, Dallas, Houston, New York, southwest Florida, and Washington, D.C.

An impressive 98 percent of participants say the program has increased their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, with 74 percent saying they maintain that level of healthier eating during times when the program isn’t active.

The Walking Classroom Institute teaches school children in North Carolina about healthier choices through an innovative program that leverages the link between exercise and cognitive function. Students leave the classroom for brisk 20-minute walks while listening to pre-loaded educational podcasts—an activity that has earned high praise from participants, as well as significant results: 84 percent of the kids in the program say they now enjoy walking more, while 85 percent say the program helps them make healthier choices.

Next: Sustaining Partners 2018

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