Pepsi Refreshes Giving

Pepsi is helping people make a difference in their communities with the Pepsi Refresh Project.

The Refresh Project is a great model for finding the community causes that really matter to your audience. For each cycle of the project, Pepsi solicits a limited number of applications from individuals, small business and non-profit organizations. The applicants are sorted by categories, by size (individuals with good ideas, small businesses and individuals with a lot of drive, larger groups, and large organizations with time and manpower to put into a project) and type (Arts and Culture, Food and Shelter, Neighborhoods, etc). Each size group has a number of cash grants to be awarded, and users vote on the causes they want to support. It costs nothing to vote – registering on the site gives a user ten votes to award as they choose.

The project is running separately in the US and Canada, and the grant ranges (top grants of $250,000 versus $100,000 respectively) and numbers are different for each country. The smaller scale for the Canadian competition shows that this is an idea with legs even on a smaller scale – and a community based competition might have a lot of potential. This month, Pepsi is also running a special project to give $1.3 million to organizations and individuals working to help out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Pepsi also keeps a blog with information and stories about applicants and winners, a great way to keep users connected with the causes they’re helping to support.

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