Since 1984, the Coca-Cola Company has given over $1 billion to communities worldwide, primarily through its philanthropic arm, the Coca-Cola Foundation. In recent years, the company has committed to giving back 1% of its previous year's operating income, mostly in the form of grants to communities and nonprofit organizations in countries where Coca-Cola operates. The Coca-Cola Foundation grants are not awarded to individuals, but the company does have a scholarship program for college students.
Applying for Coca-Cola Foundation Grants
The Coca-Cola Company only accepts applications online, and you'll find a link to the application on the Coca-Cola Foundation page. They specifically state that mailed, emailed or faxed applications will not be accepted. The panel that reviews grant applications takes them directly from the online site, and having them in one place makes the process more efficient.
Coca-Cola donation requests and sponsorship requests are handled the same way. There is no deadline to apply for any type of donation since applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the year. The foundation page contains a link to the application site.
Determining Your Eligibility
The Coca-Cola Foundation's three priority areas are currently:
- Empowering struggling women economically through entrepreneurship and community programs
- Protecting the environment by making clean water universally available and promoting conservation and recycling
- Enhancing communities through youth development programs, educational efforts and other efforts
Therefore, applications containing proposals that fit into one of these areas have the best chance of being selected. Promoting education has always been one of the company's goals too, although grants aren't given to individual schools. Before completing the application, you'll be guided through a process to determine your eligibility.
How Funds Have Helped in the United States
The Coca-Cola Foundation's priorities have changed in the three decades it has been awarding grants, and the communities where Coca-Cola products are sold have different and evolving needs. To get an idea of the types of programs to which the company and its foundation would be most likely to award grants, it helps to consider who received grants in recent years.
Coca-Cola Foundation grants awarded to help communities or groups of people in the U.S. have included funds to help:
- An Atlanta, Georgia homeless shelter increase its services when another local shelter closed
- Minority women entrepreneurs living in poverty throughout the U.S.
- Increase educational opportunities for 100 underserved minority women in Albuquerque, New Mexico
- 12,000 military personnel and families develop coping methods for and after military life
- Provide shelter, food, etc. for people impacted by the California wildfires, Hurricane Harvey and other disasters
- Fund a high-level summer internship program for people with disabilities to work in Congress and federal agencies
How Funds Have Helped Globally
Examples of global Coca-Cola Foundation grants recently awarded included funds to help:
- Build dams to increase water availability for farmers in India
- Train female farmers and entrepreneurs to produce organic food in Kazakhstan
- Training and mentoring for 500 unemployed women in Spain to become entrepreneurs
- Women in underdeveloped areas of Croatia become entrepreneurs through agriculture, agrotourism, handicrafts and souvenirs
- Provide shelter, food, hygiene kits and clean water to 8,000 families hit by ongoing flooding in Peru
Who Can Not Apply for Coca-Cola Foundation Grants?
Coca-Cola Foundation grants are not awarded to individuals, local schools, religious or political organizations, concerts and movie development or other entertainment events, fraternal organizations, local sports teams, marketing or advertising sponsorships, organizations that don't have tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status or the equivalent nor to any organization that discriminates against others for any reason.
For marketing or advertising sponsorships to help causes, see the Contact Us section of the Coca-Cola Company website. For student scholarships, see the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation website.
- On the Coca-Cola Foundation's webpage, download the list of the organizations that received money from the foundation the previous year. This shows the organization names, program descriptions and amounts awarded. It gives you an idea of whether your program and organization might be a good fit.
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is a freelance writer who lives in the Washington, D.C. area. She has written on business topics for afkinsider.com, smallbusiness.chron.com, Harbor Style Magazine, the Charlotte Sun and more, as well as advertising copy and materials. Barbara holds a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and has won numerous awards in B2B and B2C marketing.