By Michael Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Herbalife
March 4, 2015
How a global company, can make a difference – especially when they’re close to home.
December 7, 2014 was a big day for L.A. sports, as the Los Angeles Galaxy pulled off a feat that few teams in modern sports – and none in MLS history – have ever achieved: a fifth league title. In their final game of the season, the Galaxy battled the New England Revolution at the StubHub Center and won 2-1 to clinch the MLS Cup. The atmosphere was electric, with more than 30,000 Angelenos on hand to cheer on their team and give a great send off to one of America’s greatest soccer players, Landon Donovan, who concluded his career with another championship.
A Community Celebration in Los Angeles
So many championship titles in such a short time is an incredible achievement; one that will be written about in the sports pages, bragged about in the community and celebrated in the annals of soccer legend, time and again. LA Galaxy and its coaching staff worked hard to earn all the accolades that have come their way, but this history-making moment would not have been possible without the hard work, dedication and talent of many people whom were not on the soccer field that Sunday. It really was a team effort.
This was a time of celebration for the Los Angeles community – a community that the LA Galaxy and Herbalife (the Galaxy’s sponsor and nutrition partner for seven years and Los Angeles resident since 1980), will always be proud to be part of.
Recognizing Success and Giving Back
It’s milestones and partnerships like this that help us continue to recognize how fortunate we have been in our success – and understand that we have an important responsibility to give back to our community. Los Angeles is a vibrant, beautiful city, but we see that for far too many people, life here in America’s second largest city is an incredible struggle.
It’s because of this that the Herbalife Family Foundation continues to work closely with the Galaxy Foundation, and tireless volunteers, to support the underserved of Los Angeles. We do so by supporting A Place Called Home, a haven for underserved youth in South Central Los Angeles, and making an ongoing financial commitment to the Children’s Institute, Inc., an organization that helps more than 22,000 families in the city’s most challenging neighborhoods lead healthy lives.
Building a Healthier Future
Together, our organizations share a common belief that all children deserve the best start in life. Obesity is a huge burden on public health and is on track to impact nearly 50% of the world by 2030. According to a recent study by the global consulting firm McKinsey and Company, the scourge of obesity costs nearly $2 trillion a year and is responsible for about 5% of all deaths a year worldwide. If we are to address this issue as a society, educating our youth needs to be an integral part of the solution. This means continuing to educate children about the importance of good nutrition and the role exercise plays in a healthy life.
We are proud of our association with the LA Galaxy Foundation who, in their recent partnership with A Place Called Home, refurbish a multi-purpose field in South Central Los Angeles, providing our kids with a new field, a scoreboard, lights, and other equipment for 17 teams and approximately 500 young athletes.
Herbalife is also a supporter of youth soccer, and for the past six years, we have partnered with the American Youth Soccer Organization to highlight and educate families about the importance of exercise. Through programs such as “Fit from the Sidelines,” we provide nutrition education and fitness information for the whole family.
Uniting the Los Angeles Community
Last season we were able to join thousands of fans at the StubHub Center to cheer on our team. Among them were the next generation of soccer stars, including an entire squad from Los Angeles United Futbol Academy. We were happy to invite these kids as our guests, as these are children who otherwise might not have the opportunity to see a game live and in person. For many, it was the first time they had stepped foot inside any stadium, and we were excited to share in their new experience.
Winning their 5th MLS cup was a historic moment for LA Galaxy, their fans and the city. It felt incredible to enjoy the victory and celebrate as a community. But as the cheers faded and the confetti was swept away, we were reminded of our mission to help those who need it most in our community. Like the men and women of the LA Galaxy who have demonstrated their commitment to excellence both on and off the field – we will continue to honor and follow their example. It really does take a team effort.