AAMA Announces ABFHA Grant Winners in Cities Throughout the U.S.

Posted Apr. 21, 2023

(Washington, DC) – The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA) today named four cities with African American mayors as recipients of significant grants to advance essential programs that improve community health. Winning cities were announced during the African American Mayors Association National Conference in Washington, DC. April 19-21.

ABFHA and AAMA awarded the four grants totaling $525,000 to four cities in different population categories. In the large sized city category, the city of Houston will receive a $200,000 grant. Mid-sized cities Baton Rouge, LA and Newport News, VA will each receive grants of $125,000, and one grant of $75,000 has been awarded to Greenville, MS in the small-sized city category. New city awardees will be announced each year for the next three years of the grant partnership.

Mayors in the selected cities will 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.

"This grant opportunity with the American Beverage Association and the African American Mayors Association is a game changer for our cities,” said Phyllis Dickerson, CEO of the African American Mayors Association. “It is an opportunity for mayors to expand existing programs or start new nutrition programs within their respective communities."  

Funds from the program are targeted for 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, provide community outreach or help educate citizens about the benefits of the program and towards programs with an initial investment that will attract matching grants or other investment dollars.

  • Houston plans to pilot and develop its Young Agri-business Leaders of Houston (YALH) education program for high school students living in a Complete Community and support the development of a small hydroponics farm/garden program and workforce development opportunities for the students.

  • The city of Newport News, VA will continue to establish its Sarfan Food Forest as an active green space that produces edible landscaping for the purpose of education, recreation, and to improve the quality of life for residents.

  • In Baton Rouge, funds will go towards the Geaux Get Healthy Community Wellness Program, a program developed with the American Heart Association designed to assist health professionals and community organizations in providing culturally appropriate food literacy and nutrition education to families who identify as food insecure.

  • Greenville, Mississippi will use its funds for its Food Corps program to teach students about healthier food options. The program will encourage a curriculum that incorporates agricultural education in all schools by 2027.

“I am grateful to the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America as we work together to help the mayors in these cities promote healthy outcomes in their respective communities,” said AAMA President and Mayor of Little Rock, AR Frank Scott, Jr. “These grants will go a long way towards building sustainability, reducing disparities, and ensuring that residents have the information that they need to make strong and smart decisions for their families. They will also introduce a new generation to healthier options that will hopefully become part of the fabric of the community.”

As we know, America’s beverage companies are offering more choices with less sugar than ever before as part of an intentional strategy to support families in their efforts to lead healthier lifestyles. The beverage industry voluntarily removed full-calorie beverages from schools, leading to a 94% reduction in beverage calories.  Today, more than 400 brands have less sugar or zero sugar, and nearly 60% of beverages sold are zero sugar.  These actions along with calorie awareness campaigns with public health partners are working to help families reduce sugar in the diet.

“We all 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 share the goal of keeping our communities healthy and strong,” said Kevin Keane, interim president and CEO of American Beverage.

“We are thrilled to partner with the African American Mayors Association through American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America on this new grant program and we are looking forward to helping mayors expand efforts to close the gaps in nutrition services in their communities.”

Grant winners were selected by a panel of judges composed of former mayors chosen by AAMA.


The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is the only organization dedicated to representing over 500 African American mayors across the United States. AAMA seeks to empower local leaders for the benefit of their citizens. The role of the AAMA includes taking positions on public policies that impact the vitality and sustainability of cities; providing mayors with leadership and management tools; and creating a forum for member mayors to share best practices related to municipal management.

The American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America seeks to make a significant contribution to the health of local communities by providing grants to support community organizations that work to advance both the physical health of their local citizens and the environmental health of their communities. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) created and funded by America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry and is a reflection of the industry’s longstanding tradition of giving back to communities. Learn more at beveragefoundation.org.