TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is excited to announce a ten-year, multi-million dollar commitment to award graduating high school students with scholarships to attend Florida postsecondary public institutions.
Coke Florida’s donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation to fund the dreams of 250 economically disadvantaged students. The newly established Coke Florida Refreshing Minds Scholarship will cover tuition and most fees for students attending a Florida public four-year university, two-year college, or technical/vocational school.
“We are committed to strengthening the communities we serve across the state of Florida through initiatives that support education and economic empowerment,” said Troy D. Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Coke Florida. “By providing targeted and much needed financial resources to economically disadvantaged students, it is our hope that we can help empower students and address educational inequities, which we see as a root cause of generational poverty.”
Funded in part by matching contributions from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, the Coke Florida Refreshing Minds Scholarship is a part of the Path to Prosperity Program. In launching the scholarship program, Coke Florida aims to advance its ongoing work to remove barriers that prohibit young people from reaching their full potential. Florida Chamber Foundation analysis shows that those with a college education are 3.5 times less likely to live in poverty. Research also shows that not all students are interested in a four-year university program. With this understanding, the program will also provide funding for students who choose to pursue two-year college programs and technical/vocational training.
“Our desire is to support students who aspire to further their education beyond high school despite their economic circumstance and who are highly engaged in the classroom and their community,” said Percy L. Wells II, Group Vice President, Government Relations, Public Affairs, and Communications of Coke Florida. “We are passionate about enhancing our communities and offering solutions that allow individuals to prosper. While we currently provide thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies for children as they return to school each year and address the digital divide with our laptop giveaway campaign to hundreds of students throughout the year, this long-term partnership with Florida Prepaid College Foundation further strengthens our commitment to Florida’s youth who need support as they work to secure a brighter future.”
“When companies like Coke Florida make long-term investments in education, we can increase our ability to reach more students,” said Kevin Thompson, Executive Director at Florida Prepaid College Board and the Florida Prepaid College Foundation. “We commend Coke Florida for this incredible investment which contributes to our collective goal of reducing poverty rates statewide and providing opportunities for students to pay for college.” Coke Florida and the Florida Prepaid College Foundation have elected to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Florida and the Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs to deliver the scholarship program. The organizations offer enrichment and support programs to their members and alumni and will assist students with the Coke Florida Refreshing Minds Scholarship application process. Scholarship eligibility criteria includes a focus on identifying students in geographic areas with the highest percentages of childhood poverty. Recipients will be announced annually in the Spring.
Information about the Coke Florida Refreshing Minds Scholarship will be available at www.cocacolaflorida.com.
About Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC
Established in 2015, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is a family-owned Coca-Cola bottler. Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, the company is the sixth largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. Coke Florida’s exclusive sales and distribution territory covers over 21 million consumers across 47 Florida counties, and includes the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. The company markets, sells, manufactures, distributes, and merchandises over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies including Monster Energy. Coke Florida is one of the largest Black-owned businesses in the United States and is Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified. In 2022 and 2023, Coke Florida was named a US Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal for excellence in strategy, execution, culture, and governance/financials. To learn more, visit www.cocacolaflorida.com.
© 2023 Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC. “Coke” and the Coca-Cola Contour Bottle are registered trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company. “Refreshing Minds Scholarship” is a service mark of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC.