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Coca-Cola grants $35 million in honor of its 135th birthday

Coca-Cola celebrates 135th birthday on May 8 with commemorative bottle cap (Special: The Coca-Cola Co.)

By Maria Saporta

In honor of its 135th birthday, the Coca-Cola Foundation announced Thursday morning $35 million in new grants – including a $20 million fund to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The remaining $15 million will support local environmental and community organizations in the United States and Canada.

Coca-Cola will celebrate its birthday on May 8.

The $20 million “Stop the Spread” fund will go towards vaccine distribution, personal protective equipment and public awareness efforts. The Foundation will identify community initiatives that meet the requirements of its new Fund.

Coca-Cola celebrates 135th birthday on May 8 with commemorative bottle cap (Special: The Coca-Cola Co.)

“We know the Covid-19 crisis is far from over,” said Bea Perez, chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation. “Last year, during the initial outbreak phase, we channeled over $56 million of relief funds to organizations positioned to mobilize quickly and provide aid and supplies to healthcare workers and populations. Now, as Covid-19 continues to impact communities around the world, this new fund will allow the Foundation to focus on supporting charities working to stop the spread of the virus.”

More than $6.6 million in grants have been awarded from the $20 million fund to stop the spread of Covid-19, including:

  • $2 million for Project Last Mile to support vaccine rollouts in eight African countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Eswatini, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania.
  • $3.6 million for United Way of Mumbai to fund vaccine distribution initiatives and public awareness campaigns in 22 districts in India.
  • $500,000 for COVAX, a program co-led by the World Health Organization to ensure equitable, global access to Covid-19 vaccines. The contribution was made in support of Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE: Concert to Reunite the World (airing and streaming on May 8), which calls for new commitments from governments, the private sector and philanthropists to equitably distribute Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments to the world’s poorest countries.

As Coca-Cola’s hometown, Atlanta is receiving more than its fair share in local, environmental and community support – with about $7 million of the $15 million going to Atlanta-based organizations.

The $15 million in grants made by the Foundation to community initiatives, included:

  • Atlanta BeltLine Partnership to support green infrastructure planned for Westside Park and Enota park.
  • Trust for Public Land to support its showcase site on the Chattahoochee as part of the initial phase of the Chattahoochee RiverLands, a 100-mile trail from Buford Dam to Chattahoochee Bend State Park.
  • Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center Inc. to support the annual corporate campaign. The Woodruff Arts Center serves more than 850,000 patrons annually, including hundreds of thousands of students from throughout the state of Georgia.
  • National Park Foundation to support waste reduction, recycling, resilience and sustainability projects.
  • Ducks Unlimited Canada to support efforts to protect and restore critical watersheds across Canada.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs to support academic success with a focus on afterschool homework programs. This grant supports programs in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
  • United Services Organization (USO) to support initiatives to connect service members and their families.
  • United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta to support the Child Well-Being Impact Fund.
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Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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