June 16th marks the fifth anniversary of the 13-4 vote to tax sweetened beverages in Philadelphia. This victory did not come easy, but it has paved the roadway for other cities to adopt a similar tax. Today we say thank you to the volunteers and community partners who helped make Philadelphia the first major American city to pass a sweetened beverage tax. Funding from the tax revenue supports the improvement of multiple community facilities.
As one of the leading organizations advocating for the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, the American Heart Association Philadelphia rallied its volunteers and created a public campaign in support of the cause and most importantly, highlighted the critical impact it would have on the community.
The positive impact of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax continues to be felt in local communities. In addition to funding early childhood education and community schools, revenue from the tax supports Rebuild Initiative designed to improve community facilities such as parks, recreation centers, libraries, and pre-kindergarten programs where families can be active together. The City has already broken ground on two sites over the past two years.
More information about the impact of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax can be found here. Some Recent impact on the Philadelphia community includes:
- 65 facilities with work underway
- 41 completed projects—from swings and spray grounds to roof replacements and new sidewalks
- 137 PHLpre-K sites citywide offering 3,300 seats in the 2020-2021 school year, including virtual learning opportunities in response to COVID-19
- 10,000+ children served since January 2017
- 93% of providers have high-quality ratings in the state’s STARS system
- 17 Community Schools with 9,400 children enrolled
- Over 570 students have received city-funded support to improve their regular attendance
Current board member, Dwayne Wharton said, “I remain proud of the City of Philadelphia and the efforts of parents, pre-K providers, community school and recreation center advocates, union leaders and community activists, and everyday Philadelphians who all came together to fight for a brighter future for our city’s children and healthier neighborhoods for us all. Five years later, I’m heartened to see the progress that has been made under the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.” The American Heart Association of Philadelphia continues to fight to be a relentless force for equitable health care and nutrition.
Since the beverage tax was implemented, there have been notable health impacts such as a 38% reduction of sugary drink purchases according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Philadelphians have also reduced their sugary drink consumption by 1.3 billion ounces and counting, enough to fill more than 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
With your help, we can increase the positive impact of the Philly Beverage Tax and other policies that promote longer, healthier lives for all. If you’re interested in supporting our lifesaving mission and advocacy efforts, please consider joining our advocacy efforts or making a financial contribution.
Theresa Spencer is award-winning communications strategist and public relations professional. She is a creative thinker and innovative in her approach to create collaborative opportunities for others and most importantly, can motivate people around her to turn their ideas into reality. I design and drive communications and branding strategies to advance the American Heart Association objectives, initiatives and programs.