Coca-Coca announces grant program to help young people tackle community issues

Coca-Cola is handing out $30,000 grants to the 17 winners of its ‘Dear Future Challenge’ program, which is asking 18-24-year-olds in the US to submit ideas that will help solve community-specific challenges.

Running until October 15 of this year, the program is asking young people to write 300 words or less about their idea for a chance to be selected. The soda giant has outlined 15 different geographical challenges for applicants to choose from.

For instance, those who submit an idea for the Los Angeles challenge are asked to address how the city can help women and girls get involved in public service. Applicants in the Dallas area are being asked to find ways to empower military service men and women who want to successfully transition to civilian jobs.

The company will choose one winner per location. For who don’t live near any of the listed places, Coca-Cola is awarding two grants to ideas submitted for a national challenge related to recycling.

Instead of receiving the $30,000 grants outright, the money will be “awarded to a local organization” to help implement the winning entrant’s idea. In addition to the grants, winners will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with leaders at Coca-Cola to help bring their ideas to life.

The ‘Dear Future Challenge’ is an homage of sorts to the Coca-Cola Scholars program, now in its 30th year. According to the company, the program has helped “transform the lives of more than 6,000 young people through college scholarships that not only recognize academic achievement, but also civic-mindedness.”

The initiative is also part of a campaign that the Atlanta-based company recently launched. Called ‘Dear Future,’ the campaign - created with help from Partners & Spade - shows off the company’s non-soda brands, like SmartWater, Honest Tea, Odwalla and Zico.

According to Coca-Cola, the campaign features will real people who work for the company and their efforts supporting and giving back to their hometowns. The campaign is part of the 132-year-old company’s effort to position itself as a “total beverage company with deep local roots and a longstanding commitment to making a difference in the communities its 90,000 system employees proudly serve."

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