Helen Smith Price, The Coca-Cola Foundation

Helen Smith Price

Making Life’s Everyday Moments More Enjoyable

Editors’ Note

Helen Smith Price is a 25-year veteran of The Coca-Cola Company and has served as executive director of The Coca-Cola Foundation since 2001. In that role, she leads the global strategy, governance and regulatory compliance for domestic and international philanthropy. The Foundation gave back $89.3 million in 2018 to enhance the environment, empower women and enrich the well-being of people and communities. Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Price held roles in audit, tax, accounting research and financial management at BellSouth Corporation. She began her professional career as an auditor and tax accountant with Arthur Anderson & Co. She was licensed as a certified public accountant in the state of Georgia and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Spelman College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Clark Atlanta University. Price currently serves on the board of Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Spelman College Board of Trustees, the board of Councilors of The Carter Center, and a number of community boards, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation, the Woodruff Arts Center’s Alliance Theatre, the Westside Future Fund, and the Corporate Contributions Council of The Conference Board. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, Azalea City Chapter of the Links Incorporated, and the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Company Brief

The Coca-Cola Company (coca-cola.com) is a total beverage company, offering over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories. In addition to the company’s Coca-Cola brands, its portfolio includes some of the world’s most valuable beverage brands, such as AdeS soy-based beverages, Ayataka green tea, Dasani waters, Del Valle juices and nectars, Fanta, Georgia coffee, Gold Peak teas and coffees, Honest Tea, Innocent smoothies and juices, Minute Maid juices, Powerade sports drinks, Simply juices, smartwater, Sprite, vitaminwater and ZICO coconut water. The Coca-Cola Company is constantly transforming its portfolio, from reducing sugar in its drinks to bringing innovative new products to market. The company also works to reduce its environmental impact by replenishing water and promoting recycling. With its bottling partners, The Coca-Cola Company employs more than 700,000 people, helping bring economic opportunity to local communities worldwide.

The Coca-Cola Foundation was established in the U.S. in 1984 as a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization that has since given back more than $1 billion to enhance the sustainability of local communities worldwide. Since its inception, the Foundation has supported learning inside and outside the classroom. In 2007, the Foundation broadened its support to include global water stewardship programs, fitness and nutrition efforts and community recycling programs. Today, its strategies align with the Company’s sustainability platform and include women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Will you discuss Coca-Cola’s purpose and how deeply engrained purpose is within the culture of the company?

The Coca-Cola Company’s purpose starts with bringing people the brands and beverages that make life’s everyday moments more enjoyable. That purpose is underpinned by our belief in doing business the right way – not just the easy way – so we can create shared opportunity for our communities, our customers, our associates and our shareholders.

Coca-Cola is not only a global company, it is also a network of locally-owned businesses with operations in more than 200 countries. Our company’s vast system of bottling partners creates deep, local relationships that make a meaningful difference in communities everywhere.

Ultimately, we know our success depends on the success of every community we touch, which is why we are committed to following our values and working toward solutions that benefit us all.

What do you see as Coca-Cola’s responsibility to the communities it serves?

Responding to community needs has always been part of our DNA. We do this through The Coca-Cola Foundation, the independent philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, as well as through contributions and volunteerism from our company’s local business units and bottling partners.

Around the world, The Coca-Cola Foundation supports organizations that change lives and strengthen communities by helping to create educational opportunities, economically empower women, restore local watersheds, improve recycling, provide supplies to victims of natural and manmade disasters, and so much more.

Coca-Cola has a long and storied history in Atlanta. Will you discuss this relationship?

The world’s first glass of Coca-Cola was poured at “Jacob’s Pharmacy” on Marietta Street in 1886. Ever since that day, Coca-Cola has been proud to contribute to our hometown’s growth and success. Coca-Cola’s culture of giving back has been continuously reinforced over the past century by former Coca-Cola leaders like Asa Candler, Robert Woodruff and Roberto Goizueta, who are known for their important roles in developing Atlanta real estate, helping to advance civil rights issues, and making significant charitable contributions to city hallmarks like Emory University, the Atlanta History Center and the Woodruff Arts Center.

This tradition of giving back continues today through our partnerships with local organizations that work to strengthen the city and support its residents, like the Atlanta Police Foundation and the Westside Future Fund, among many others.

Will you highlight the company’s philanthropic involvement in the city?

Much of the company’s philanthropic commitment is expressed through financial support it gives to The Coca-Cola Foundation which, in turn, distributes that money in charitable grants within certain giving priorities including education, the economic empowerment of women, and sustainability.

Since The Coca-Cola Foundation’s inception 30 years ago, more than $174 million has been extended in charitable grants in Atlanta. The Foundation has worked with nearly 400 organizations in Atlanta, including the Atlanta Police Foundation, the Westside Future Fund, the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Special Olympics Georgia, and many others.

How critical is a strong public/private partnership in Atlanta?

Strong public/private partnerships are critically important to the city’s success. No one leader or organization can create sustainable change alone, and we are proud to work with a wide range of partners to help make Atlanta a stronger, safer, cleaner and more prosperous city for all.

Coca-Cola places diversity and inclusion as a key value of the company. How critical is building a diverse and inclusive workforce to the continued success and leadership of Coca-Cola?

As both a global and local business, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of The Coca-Cola Company’s values and are integral to our success. For us, creating a diverse and inclusive workforce is not only the right thing to do – it is a strategic priority that fosters greater creativity, innovation and connection to the communities we serve.