The Coca-Cola Foundation Awards $300,000 to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Grant Supports a National System of Community Trails
The Coca-Cola Foundation today announced a $300,000 grant to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) to create a nationwide network of walking and biking trails using former rail lines that will support more than 1.9 million people in the Washington DC, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and New Orleans communities.
This grant builds upon previous funding support from the Company, which expanded trails in numerous other communities, including the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia and the Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama. The Georgia-Alabama trails will be commemorated Saturday, September 27, 2008, when they are joined to become the longest paved trail in the United States.
"Coca-Cola is committed to helping ensure the vitality of our communities," said Ingrid Saunders Jones, chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation. "This grant is an expression of our commitment to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's goal of creating trails that place 90 percent of Americans within three miles of a safe and healthy community trail system."
Through the awarding of the $300,000 grant, the RTC will provide expertise and pass-through grants to several trail organizations, specifically:
-- Five grants totaling $50,000 for community grants supporting the operations of trail organizations in Washington, DC; Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, and New Orleans; -- Three grants totaling $150,000 for specific rail-to-trail development, expansion and enhancement projects in Washington, DC (including the Metropolitan Branch Trail), Chicago and New York City. -- Additionally, $100,000 will support RTC's technical initiative, which includes the Mapping Initiative and Guidebook Series, which provides the public with information on the nation's trail systems.
"Creating healthier places for healthier people requires the support of concerned corporate citizens, like Coca-Cola," said Keith Laughlin, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy president. "We have already seen great successes with trail connections across the nation and cannot wait to see what wonderful things this next grant will do for America's rail-trail network."
In 2005, Coca-Cola donated $500,000 to the RTC to develop and expand trails across the country, like the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails. Funding from Coca-Cola helped build the Gateway Park where the two trails connect at the Georgia-Alabama state line. Coca-Cola also supported Dasani brand's "Blue Bikes" program that provided bicycle fleets to local trail organizations so that Americans could enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Globally, The Coca-Cola Company is a leader in sustainability efforts in the areas of water stewardship, packaging, energy and climate protection. As part of its community sustainability and healthy, active lifestyle initiatives, the Company announced in January 2008 a $2 million donation to Atlanta's BeltLine Partnership, which -- once completed -- will connect Atlanta communities by creating greenspace, trails, transit, and new development along 22 miles of historic rail segments that encircle the City of Atlanta's urban core. In addition, the Company has provided $3.5 million in support to the National Parks Foundation for use in enhancing and maintaining trails in national parks across the United States.
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 450 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company's portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate of 1.5 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at www.coca-colacompany.com.
About Rails to Trails
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 100,000 members, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.railstotrails.org.
Source: The Coca-Cola Company
Released September 25, 2008