Pepsi Refresh Project: Can Your Community-Building Idea Get Up To $250K?

You know what Pepsi is doing with all the money it didn’t spend on Super Bowl ads last month? They’re giving it away at, the Pepsi Refresh Project. (Whether this marketing concept works out or not, it’ll be a case for the textbooks irregardless.) 

Click here to see how it all works. Basically, you and/or your organization should come up with an idea that needs $5,000-$250,000 worth of seed money (something like “replace the roof on our school’s greenhouse) and then post it at the Pepsi website. If online voters think your idea is worthy, then ka-ching, baby, you’re financed. 

The process cycles through each month, so I’m thinking it behooves you to submit your ap just after midnight on the first of the month. (When Pepsi gets too many ideas, they’ll tell you to try again next month.) Get cracking. 


Last Saturday, Fonzworth Bentley (P Diddy’s former valet, a while back) and some others came to San Francisco to promote this project by hosting a Pepsi Idea Seminar – you know, for kids. Note that Fonzworth’s pants are NOT orange, they’re tangerine. There’s a difference, you know: 


Oh, and guess what, former Coca Cola woman Majora Carter is working on this project. Remember that whole Olympic torch fiasco back in ought-eight when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and former Police Chief Heather Fong forgot who they were working for and unnecessarily kowtowed to China in a big way? Well, I’m sure Majora does

Anyway, choose or lose, vote or die – rummage around the website and see if you think it’s worth your time. Your choice. 

Hill Harper, left, Mike Posner, center, and Fonzworth Bentley, right (Tony Avelar/AP Images for Pepsi):

And here’s what Hill had to say to the kids:

“When I got a call about the Pepsi Refresh Project I thought about all the people who have ideas but don’t have the tools to build them. This project is about taking the ideas you can think of and making them happen… Everyone in the SF design atrium today has goals and dreams. What’s the journey to get there? People think they need the hook up, to win the lotto, to be the right place at right time — rather than having the right plan and coalescing resources to make it happen. Fear is false evidence appearing real. Courage to overcome fear comes from your heart. What are you passionate about? We have an intuition of what our heart says we should do but our mind tells us otherwise. What in your life have you not done that you’ve been putting off, but you’re heart is saying to do.

(Call and response with students):
I will act with courage.
I will use my heart to make decisions.
I will not allow fear to stop me.”

All the deets after the jump. 


“In support of the Pepsi Refresh Project (, Pepsi is collaborating with notable celebrities and performing artists Hill Harper, Fonzworth Bentley, and Mike Posner on the Pepsi Idea Seminar – a program designed to provide local youth with tools and skills to develop ideas that will have a positive impact on their communities. The Pepsi Refresh Project will give away more than $20 million in grants this year to fund ideas developed by people, businesses, and non-profits that will help move the world forward. 

Pepsi is also hosting an Idea Lounge that is open to the public where people can log-on to and vote for the ideas they think deserve to win Pepsi Refresh grants. Additionally, they will participate in group discussions about creating and promoting ideas that will refresh their communities.  

 Hill Harper – Actor and New York Times Bestselling Author
Fonzworth Bentley – MTV’s “From G’s to Gents” Host
Mike Posner – J Records Recording Artist
Divine Bradley– Community Leader and Motivational Speaker

Pepsi Refresh Project Opens Online Site for Idea Submissions


PURCHASE, N.Y., Jan. 13 — The Pepsi Refresh Project, a groundbreaking effort to foster innovation in social good, began accepting idea submissions today from individuals and organizations at Pepsi also announced an Advisory Board and Category Ambassadors, nonprofit leaders and advocates who will support the Pepsi Refresh Project. This program will award more than $20 million dollars in 2010 to ideas that will move the world forward, including $1.3 million a month to the ideas Americans select as the best in open online voting.To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: Pepsi Refresh Project is an evolution of the Refresh Everything initiative Pepsi launched in 2009, which showed the brand as a catalyst for optimism. Pepsi will fund ideas that will move the world forward in six categories: Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods and Education. The Pepsi Refresh Project will feature significant social engagement around people and the power of ideas.Ranging from nonprofit CEOs to foundation presidents, the members of the Advisory Board are luminaries in their field – chosen for their track record of success and commitment to moving the world forward, they are some of the most innovative thinkers in social good. The Pepsi Refresh Advisory Board Members are:

  • Michael Brown, CEO and co-founder, City Year
  • Majora Carter, president, Majora Carter Group, LLC
  • Angela Cobb, chief diversity officer, Teach For America
  • Bob Forrester, president & CEO, Newman’s Own Foundation
  • Ben Goldhirsh, CEO and co-founder, GOOD
  • Rosanne Haggerty, president, Common Ground
  • Reid Hoffman, founder, LinkedIn
  • Nancy Lublin, chief old person, Do Something
  • Neil Nicoll, president and CEO, YMCA of the USA
  • Maria Teresa Kumar, founder and executive director, Voto Latino
  • Premal Shah, president, KIVA
  • Eric Steuer, creative director, Creative Commons

“All across America, people from every walk of life are producing powerful, creative and fun ideas that can create positive change. Pepsi’s Refresh Project is going to help move ideas from wishful thinking to reality – and that’s an incredibly exciting effort to support,” said Majora Carter, Pepsi Refresh Project Advisory Board Member.  

“Through our Pepsi Refresh Project, we’re going to equip people with the means to bring their ideas to life,” said Jill Beraud, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages and president, Joint Ventures. “Our Advisory Board members and Ambassadors will be critical partners in this effort, and we’re grateful for their energy, expertise and commitment.”  

To implement the project, Pepsi is partnering with three organizations dedicated to making a positive difference in the world: GOOD, a leading platform for thought and action revolving around pushing the world forward; Global Giving, an online marketplace that connects people who have community and world-changing ideas with people who can support them; and Do Something, the largest non-profit teen charity.  

The Pepsi Refresh Project Category Ambassadors are emerging leaders in the six Pepsi Refresh Project categories, who range from start-up founders to activists and neighborhood advocates. They will work on the Pepsi Refresh Project through Pepsi’s partnership with GOOD, helping to curate the most creative grant applications and ensure that the brightest thinkers in their fields are engaged.  

By helping the nonprofit community get involved with Pepsi Refresh Project, the Ambassadors will help ensure that the public has a high quality slate of potential grantees on which to vote. The Pepsi Refresh Project Category Ambassadors are:  

  • Mallika Chopra, Health, founder and CEO of Intent
  • Rebecca Rigal, Arts & Culture, trends forecaster and citizen journalist
  • Allison Arieff, Food & Shelter, author on architecture, design and sustainability
  • Kyla Fullenwider, Neighborhoods, director of Garden In Transit and founder of The Public Studio
  • Ben Jervey, The Planet, author and environmental consultant with NRDC
  • Liz Dwyer, Education, former teacher and Teach For America director

Voting for the first-round ideas begins on Monday, February 1, with the first awardees to be announced on Monday, March 1, 2010. To learn more, visit www.refresheverything.comPepsi Refresh ProjectIn an effort to support those who generate innovative, optimistic ideas, the Pepsi Refresh Project (, will award more than $20 million in 2010 to move communities forward. Individuals can apply for grants to benefit a variety of projects starting January 13, and site visitors can vote for the best ideas for funding starting February 1. The Pepsi Refresh Project is an evolution of the Refresh Everything initiative Pepsi launched in 2009, which showed the brand as an optimistic catalyst for idea creation, leading to an ever-refreshing world. Pepsi will fund projects that make a difference in six categories: Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods and Education.Pepsi-Cola North America BeveragesThe Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages (PCNAB) portfolio features market-leading liquid refreshment beverages, including the Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist and Mug trademarks in the carbonated soft drink category and the Aquafina and SoBe trademarks in the non-carbonated arena. PCNAB also produces and markets North America’s best-selling ready-to-drink iced teas and coffees, respectively, via joint ventures with Lipton and Starbucks. Please visit www.pepsiproductfacts.comfor additional information. PCNAB is a division of PepsiCo, which offers the world’s largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 18 different product lines that each generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade – also make hundreds of other nourishing, tasty foods and drinks that bring joy to our consumers in over 200 countries. With more than $43 billion in 2008 revenues, PepsiCo employs 198,000 people who are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth, called Performance with Purpose. By dedicating ourselves to offering a broad array of choices for healthy, convenient and fun nourishment, reducing our environmental impact, and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, PepsiCo balances strong financial returns with giving back to our communities worldwide. For more information, please visit SOURCE: Pepsi-Cola North America BeveragesWeb site:  

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