Press Release

Mayor London Breed to invest $22.4 million in soda tax revenue in children’s health and wellness programs

Mayor Breed’s proposal includes new effort to bring recreational programming to public housing, low-income housing and shelters for young people who have barriers to accessing traditional programming.
May 24, 2019

San Francisco, CA - Mayor London N. Breed today announced that her upcoming budget for Fiscal Years (FY) 2019-2020 and 2020-21 will direct $22.4 million in revenue from the City’s Soda Tax to programs benefitting children and youth. Of the $22.4 million, $4 million will go toward expanding recreation scholarships and outreach to youth living in shelters, public housing and housing developments assisted by the City.

“The Soda Tax was introduced to protect our children from the harmful impacts of sugary beverages, which is why it is important that we invest this revenue in programs to promote the health and well-being of our children,” said Mayor Breed. “Our City services must be equitable, and these initiatives will help more of our kids access our City’s recreation programs, especially those who traditionally have faced barriers to participating in our camps and other summer activities.”

The proposed expansion of outreach and recreation programs will bring engaging, dynamic, culturally-relevant, and free recreation programming directly to children in shelters, public housing projects, and housing developments assisted by the City through the Mayor’s Office of Housing & Community Development (MOHCD). In addition to creating new recreation opportunities for youth, this investment will also support expanding the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department’s (Rec & Park) existing scholarship program that provides low-income families with discounted or free registration in recreation programs. This initiative would be a new effort to bring programming directly to youth who often face barriers to accessing San Francisco’s existing programs.

Youth under 18 who live in shelters or public housing will be offered free on-site recreation and health and wellness programming, and will be encouraged to participate in the City’s recreation and swim programs, camps, and sports leagues free of charge. Youth who live in housing developments assisted by MOHCD will also be offered free on-site recreation, and will have access to the City’s recreation programming for free or at subsidized rates. Rec & Park will also coordinate programming at nearby “equity zone parks” to reintroduce residents to their neighborhood park sites.

Of the $22.4 million investment, over $6.5 million will support grants for Community Based Organizations (CBOs) that provide health services, physical education programming, and healthy food and water access in school settings. An additional $2 million will support community and school-based oral health programs administered by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), and $2 million will support access to healthy food and improve food security.

“Income should never be a barrier to accessing our fun, healthy, and high quality recreation,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “From dance classes to rock climbing to team sports, this funding allows us to bring our programs to the front doors of previously underserved San Franciscans, supporting them on their paths to wellness.”

“We know that reducing consumption of sugary beverages helps to prevent tooth decay, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. “The funds generated by San Francisco’s tax will support programs in communities with high rates of these diseases, and will help children get and stay healthy. Healthy children become healthy adults.”

“Our City proudly continues to make meaningful investments in the health, safety and future of our most vulnerable children, youth and young people,” said Department of Youth, Children, and Their Families (DCYF) Executive Director Maria Su. “DCYF is thrilled to partner with SFUSD and other City partners to increase equitable access to quality physical activity, healthy eating choices and opportunities to develop lifelong healthy habits. All our young people, whether they live in shelters, public housing or housing developments, will be empowered to live and thrive in wellness.”

Over the upcoming two year budget, Mayor Breed proposes directing additional funding from the Soda Tax toward a variety of programs that would benefit San Francisco’s children and youth, including:


Public Health

Grants to CBOs, $6.6 million
Supports community and school-based grants for health education, physical activity opportunities, healthy eating and food security, promoting water consumption, and community-based participatory research.

School Food Improvement, Education and Action, $3 million
Funding to improve the quality of school meals, support nutrition education, and support efforts to decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among students.

Oral Health Community Task Force and School-Based Oral Health Programming, $2 million
Supports oral health community task forces that work to address oral health needs of children in high-risk populations. Also supports school-based and school-linked preventative oral health programs within SFUSD serving high-risk target populations, and covers the costs of the oral sealants.

Community Engagement, $100,000
Funds community engagement activities to ensure impacted populations can inform decisions related to sugar-sweetened beverages.



Outreach, Scholarships, and Equity in Recreation, $4 million
New initiative to expand recreation scholarships and outreach to youth under 18 who live in public and subsidized housing supported by the MOHCD.

Peace Parks, $1.8 million
Provides $670,000 per year for the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks to continue the Peace Parks program, and allocates additional support through the City’s Street Violence Prevention Program to augment program staffing.


Nutrition and Water Access

Healthy Eating Vouchers, $2 million
Supports healthy eating vouchers through the Healthy Food Purchasing Supplement Program, EatSF, which improves food security and access to healthy foods.

Water Access, $640,000
Provides funding to install new or upgrade existing hydration stations in public spaces and in school sites that target high-risk populations.

Healthy Retail, $300,000
Provides ongoing support for the Healthy Retail Program.


Administration and Evaluation

Evaluation, Technical Assistance, and Administrative Support, $2 million
Provides technical support for merchants and non-profits, develop a system to collect data, conduct quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the tax and its impacts, and provide staffing and administrative support for the Sugary Drinks Distributor Tax Advisory Committee and its application.