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Pepsi Stronger Together Builds All-Star Roster for Enriching Communities Across the South

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ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Pepsi today announced the expansion of Pepsi Stronger Together - its series of grassroots initiatives that provide support to communities across the nation - with the help of long-time friend Shaquille O'Neal through the Shaquille O'Neal Foundation. The NBA Hall-of-Famer, known for his generous spirit and community contributions, will provide strategic guidance and programming support. The latest iteration of Pepsi Stronger Together is bringing tailored resources to Miami, Orlando, Memphis, and Washington, D.C. by working with those cities' NBA teams and charitable organizations to build stronger communities from within.

Pepsi Stronger Together (pepsistrongertogether.com, @pepsistrongertogether) was conceived with the idea that now, more than ever, we must foster a sense of connection and belonging, starting by investing locally. Following today's announcement, programming will continue to roll out through 2020 in key cities. Activations will be tailored regionally and will provide a range of resources including student mentorship programs, support for HBCUs, sports and recreation, domestic violence counseling, and fostering conversations between communities and local law enforcement through the Close the Gap (CTG) Foundation.

Pepsi, a brand with our own small-town origin story, has built deep roots in communities of all sizes across the U.S. - whether through feeding families in need, supporting frontline workers, or celebrating local heroes - and we are now showing up to prove that we are, in fact, stronger together.

"This program might be one of the most substantial and important steps in helping our local communities to become stronger together," said Shaquille O'Neal, CEO of the Shaquille O'Neal Foundation.  "There has never been a more important time to look inward and focus on these grassroots initiatives, and I'm excited to join forces with Pepsi to help those in need." 

Pepsi initially launched Pepsi Stronger Together in May of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, engaging its network of partners in the South - including AdventHealth, Howard University, and the University of Maryland Medical System hospitals - to shine a spotlight on essential frontline workers in a variety of industries. The brand also donated meals to the communities where Pepsi employees live and work. 

"Pepsi Stronger Together is just the beginning of what will become an even bigger and more dynamic program for our associates, our partners, and our communities - allowing us to lead by example and put our words into action," said Derek Lewis, President, South Division, PepsiCo Beverages North America. "Organizing programming under the areas of community, education, and the environment will help focus our efforts with our partners while serving those who can benefit from it most. And having such a strong list of partners and supporters – The Shaquille O'Neal Foundation and the Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami HEAT, and Washington Wizards, who care so much for these issues - is a dream come true."

Details of how Pepsi, the Shaquille O'Neal Foundation, and its partners will be activating Pepsi Stronger Together in the following communities in the coming weeks are below:

Orlando

  • In step with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October), Pepsi, the Orlando Magic and The CTG Foundation will provide de-escalation training courses with the counselors at Harbor House of Central Florida - an Orlando organization that works to prevent and eliminate domestic abuse by providing critical life-saving services to survivors - implementing and advancing best practices and education within the community.
  • They will also be facilitating a five-week self-defense course at Harbor House.
  • The partners will also team up to provide updated sports and recreational equipment, including installation of new outdoor basketball courts, to the Harbor House facility for families and recreation area for teens at the center.
  • Pepsi, the Orlando Magic and the CTG Foundation will partner to lead a series of de-discussions or "cool down conversations" with community leaders and Orlando youth, including members of the Orlando Police Department (OPD) and Orange County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) to continue to build upon the foundation of trust between law enforcement and community throughout the Orlando area.
  • Additionally, the partners will facilitate opportunities for additional education for local law enforcement, that will enhance their existing de-escalation training programs and provide even more options when interacting with the community.

Washington, D.C.

  • Pepsi and the Washington Wizards will be refurbishing basketball facilities at the Navy Yard, providing a safe and updated court on which local youth can play.
  • They will elevate the work and profile of a local artist by making the court a canvas on which to paint a mural.
  • They will continue to build upon the Washington Wizards "Crucial Conversations" series with 5 additional episodes for local high school students, tackling relevant topics such as the importance of voting, racial injustice, post-high school education options, and mentorship. Talks will be led by players for the Washington Wizards, local celebrities, and the CTG Foundation.

Memphis

  • Pepsi will be partnering with the Memphis Grizzlies for a 6-7 week basketball program focused on building bridges between youth and law enforcement. Curated by the CTG Foundation, the programs will use sports as the spark to navigate conversations such as self-esteem, youth-police relations, and leadership.
  • An 8-week mentorship program, curated by the Grizzlies Foundation and in partnership with LeMoyne-Owen College and University of Memphis, will pair college students with high schoolers, granting them exposure to opportunities and lessons designed to prepare them for college and their careers.
  • Additionally, the program will promote HBCU awareness through a combination of hosted HBCU college fairs throughout the Memphis region in partnership with The HBCU Awareness Foundation.
  • Participating college students will be granted paid internships at Pepsi and other program partners, allowing them to apply their mentorship learning and life skills in the workforce.

Miami

  • Pepsi will donate $10,000 to Miami Heat police training programs.
  • The Miami HEAT and Pepsi will auction off one-of-a-kind prize package through the Pepsi Stronger Together website. The funds generated from the auction will be used to partner with minority-run local restaurants who are struggling from COVID-19, purchasing meals for families across Miami for the upcoming holidays.
  • Additional details and programming forthcoming.

About Pepsi Stronger Together
Pepsi Stronger Together is a national initiative to empower and engage communities around the country by providing tailored programming and resources that bring people together. It was conceived with the idea that now, more than ever, we must foster a sense of connection and belonging, starting by investing locally. Launched in May of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic - engaging its network of partners in the South to shine a spotlight on essential front-line workers in a variety of industries - Pepsi Stronger Together was expanded in October of 2020 by partnering with NBA teams and charitable organizations to foster, among other things, community and police relations.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. Under this vision, Pepsi Stronger Together is continually evolving the program to respond to the cultural moment and meet the needs of communities across the United States. Stay up to date at pepsistrongertogether.com, where visitors can engage in conversation and learn about the latest community initiatives and how to give back. Follow the conversation on social media at @pepsistrongertogether.

 

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SOURCE PepsiCo

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