Coca-Cola: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: Coca-Cola and the Coca-Cola Foundation prioritize women's empowerment, environmental conservation, and healthy living through diet and exercise, as well as local community initiatives. Coca-Cola also gives away millions of scholarship dollars annually through both the Coca-Cola Foundation and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

IP TAKE: Even though education is no longer Coca-Cola's exclusive philanthropic focus, institutions of higher education around the globe continue to receive major awards. That said, earning support from this funder is competitive.

PROFILE: The Coca-Cola Foundation was established in 1984 at the behest of Roberto Goizueta, the corporation’s then Chairman and CEO. It initially focused on “learning inside and outside the classroom,” but in 2007, the company and foundation began to broaden their scope of giving. According to the foundation, its current “priority areas” are “economic empowerment and entrepreneurship” for women; “access to clean water, water conservation and recycling”; and “active healthy living, education and youth development.” On the local and community level, the foundation also supports arts and culture, community and economic development programs, and  HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness programs in Africa and Latin America.

Most of the Coca-Cola Foundation’s grants for higher education fall under the Women and Well-Being focus areas. For instance, in 2017 the foundation funded numerous first-generation scholarship programs at the University of Alabama, Central Washington University, Clark Atlanta University, Clayton State University, and Georgia State University. In addition to direct funding for universities, students in the United States are also eligible for scholarship support through the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Applicants must be high school seniors and U.S. citizens with a minimum 3.0 GPA. More information about the scholarship and application process is available here.

Grants typically range from $25,000 to $500,000. The foundation accepts applications year-round and does not require an invitation. There is no dollar limit for funding requests.

The foundation does not accept applications by mail, fax, or email, only through its online application process. Before submitting, applicants should review what kinds of programs the foundation does not support, and take the short eligibility questionnaire.

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