Coca-Cola, through its philanthropic division, the Coca-Cola Foundation, is one of the largest providers of corporate grants – having donated more than $1 billion since its inception in 1984. The Coca-Cola Foundation awards these grants throughout the year, with the timing generally being dependant on the tax implications, company priorities, legal compliance and approval from the Board of Directors.

Focus Areas for the Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation presents grants to organizations that have a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status but steers clear of religious organizations and programs, political organizations, fraternity and sororities, entertainment events and sports organizations.

The company has four focus areas: empowering women, protecting the environment, educating scholars and enhancing communities. A nonprofit organization seeking a grant from Coca-Cola needs to have a mission or purpose that falls into one of these categories and that aligns with Coca-Cola's giving strategies and guidelines.

Empowering Women: The focus on empowering women revolves around the promotion of entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.

The Foundation has helped 1.2 million women escape poverty through entrepreneurial and skills-based training and education. Over $41 million has been provided for this cause.

Protecting the environment: The Foundation has spent more than $216 million in initiatives that aim to provide access to clean water around the world. It has successfully created access to clean water for more than 32 million people.

Educating scholars: More than $335 million has been provided to first-generation college students to fund their education. Also, more than 10,000 students have been on the receiving end of these grants.

Enhancing communities: More money has been spent on Coca-Cola community grants than any other focus point of the Foundation. Enhancing communities not only means improving the infrastructure, but also involves providing resources to help the youth of those communities succeed.

Other Purposes for Grants

The Foundation has spent more than $408 million helping communities recover from natural and man-made disasters.

The Foundation also supports programs in the local community that serve arts and culture. In the United States, the Foundation lends a hand to community and economic development programs. In Latin America and Agrica, HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness programs receive Foundation support.

Applying for a Grant

An application for a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation must be made via its website; any other method of application is not accepted.

To save time and effort, a prospective organization should double-check to confirm that its mission and cause align with that of Coca-Cola.

If an organization is unsure, the Foundation provides eligibility questions at the beginning of the application process to ensure that the fit makes sense from the company's standpoint. The questionnaire asks questions such as whether the funds being requested are for an individual, whether the requesting organization has nondiscrimination policies in place and whether the funds will be used for ineligible organizations.

Explain the Program Goals Clearly

Although the application questions change somewhat over time, the common denominator remains the need to explain an organization's mission and the program that is in need of funding.

Those seeking a grant must also provide the desired program outcome, a list of the board of directors and an annual budget.

To receive a better chance at receiving the grant, an organization should answer the questions as thoroughly as possible and use examples and testimonies whenever applicable.

Grant Request Deadlines

A Coca-Cola grant request should be made by August of one year in order to receive the money for the following calendar year. This helps the company stay in line with its budget timeline.

Coca-Cola donation requests, in-kind donations of products or services rather than money, should be made at least four weeks before a scheduled event.