Staff at Subaru Park, home of the Philadelphia Union, attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the stadium's zero-landfill status.
Fans jump out of their seats and roar as their beloved Philadelphia Union soccer club nets a goal at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. As fervent fans bask in their team’s success, they can also take pride in knowing each goal scored contributes to a greater cause. The Philadelphia Union and marquee partner Subaru of America plant 25 trees for each goal scored through a partnership with nonprofit One Tree Planted.
The Union’s on-field success in 2022 kept volunteers and community members busy: 79 goals, including a Major League Soccer record-tying 49 goals scored at home, translated into 1,975 trees planted in the greater Philadelphia community and throughout Pennsylvania. And that’s only the start of how these partners work together on environmental sustainability and community growth.
The tree planting project is just one of the many meaningful community initiatives born out of the partnership between Subaru and the Union. The automaker, based in Camden, New Jersey, and the Chester-based professional soccer team joined forces in 2020 to drive greater impact in the communities where they work.
“When we teamed up with the Philadelphia Union, our biggest priority was to engage with our shared communities in the greater Philadelphia area and support the causes that mean the most to them,” said Alan Bethke, senior vice president of marketing for Subaru of America. “Over three years of partnership, we’ve done just that.”
To maximize the partnership, the Union has embraced the Subaru Love Promise vision and poured energy into initiatives including sustainability, education, pediatric cancer awareness, pet adoption and more. Michelle Rosar, the Philadelphia Union’s vice president of partnership marketing, said success hinges on Subaru and the Union’s “open collaboration” and willingness to accept new challenges.
“There’s never been an idea that’s come across our desk that’s been too big or too small, especially when it comes to the community,” Rosar said.
It’s this mentality that inspired Subaru and the Union to transform Subaru Park into the first soccer-specific venue in the United States to achieve zero-landfill status. Since earning the trailblazing zero-waste status in October 2021, the stadium has diverted over 920,356 pounds of waste from landfills, Rosar said.
On the grounds of Subaru Park, employees and volunteers also tend an organic garden that’s yielded more than 5,000 pounds of produce since its first harvest in 2020. In all, Subaru and the Union have donated more than 20,000 servings of fresh organic vegetables from the garden to churches, ministries, and better living centers in and around Philadelphia.
Embracing all things pets, Subaru Park continues to serve as a home for pet adoption events, in which the automaker has helped unite over 300 dogs with loving homes.
Elsewhere in the community, the two organizations continue to challenge themselves to do more. Last year, Subaru and the Union scratched plans to adopt a single elementary classroom and instead opted to adopt all 20 classrooms at nearby Stetser Elementary School. Subaru assembled school supply kits for each classroom, provided critical learning materials and sports equipment for more than 250 students, and hosted an engaging and fun back-to-school festival for the school.
The commitment to local youth extends beyond the classroom and onto the soccer field as well. The Gear for Good initiative donated and delivered more than 700 soccer gear items to children in Philadelphia last year. Subaru and the Union also unveiled a mini soccer pitch in Camden, offering local kids a safe space to enjoy the sport and hone their soccer skills.
As the partnership continues to grow, the organizations are staying true to the communities they serve. “The heart of this partnership is the commitment to the local community,” Rosar said. “It’s in the DNA of both organizations to make a positive contribution to the communities we live in.”
This article series is sponsored by Subaru and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.
Images courtesy of Subaru and the Philadelphia Union
Based in Atlanta, GA, Grant is a nonprofit professional and freelance writer passionate about affordable housing and finding sustainable approaches to international development. A proud graduate of the University of Maryland, Grant spent four months post-grad living in Armenia where he worked for Habitat for Humanity and the World Food Programme. He enjoys playing trivia with friends but is still seeking his first victory - he ceaselessly blames his friends lack of preparation.