The winners of the 2016 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund have been announced in an awards ceremony in the heart of Dublin. The fund awarded €130,000 to youth charities across Ireland to celebrate the 130th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Here’s who won the top €30,000 prize and why…

Modernity was fused with history as the winners of Coca-Cola's Thank You Fund were unveiled at a pulsing tech hub located in the historic CHQ Building in heart of Dublin’s Digital Docklands.

Inspiring young people across Ireland

The Dogpatch Labs, a dynamic mix of digital start-ups housed beneath the hulking metal rafters of the restored CHQ warehouse, provided the backdrop as 13 innovative youth community groups were recognised for their work to inspire young people across Ireland.

Thank You Fund Winners 2016

€130,000 to mark 130 years

To mark its 130th birthday, Coca-Cola awarded grants totalling €130,000 to the youth-based projects that emerged on top after a rigorous judging process.

“Without the €30,000 from Coca-Cola this would still be an idea, it would still be a dream. But now I know I can inspire young people to go ahead and lead their lives the way they want”

Robbie Corrigan, project coordinator for Extern Limerick, the top winning project


The top prize goes to…

Social justice charity Extern Limerick landed the top award of €30,000 for its Jumping Hurdles Horse Project. This imaginative initiative aims to give disadvantaged young people a shot at a career in the equine sector.

Thank You Fund Winners 2016

Extern Limerick's project coordinator Robbie Corrigan says he dreamt up the idea after seeing the impact a visit to the Curragh Racecourse had on two young people he was mentoring.

‘Absolutely ecstatic’
Standing on the paddock-like expanse of artificial grass blanketing the Dogpatch Labs, Robbie reflected on the importance of the award. “We are delighted, absolutely ecstatic,” he said.

“Without the €30,000 from Coca-Cola this would still be an idea, it would still be a dream.

“But now I know I can go and inspire young people to go ahead and lead their lives the way they want.”

The other worthy winners

Eight other not-for-profit groups received grants of €10,000, with an additional four being awarded €5,000. Get the full list of winners

Before 2016, The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund has already donated €625,000 to support groups across Ireland, north and south of the border. The focus this year was on youth projects.

“The brief issued by Coca-Cola was to develop projects that would inspire and support young people, and the not-for-profit groups of Ireland and Northern Ireland have certainly not disappointed”

- TV presenter and Thank You Fund Ambassador Eoghan McDermott


‘The variety and ingenuity of the projects is remarkable’
Community champions who give their time to inspire those young people applauded together, as one by one they were called forward to receive their awards. After the announcements the winners mingled and shared the inspiration stories that had so impressed the judging panel.

Thank You Fund Winners 2016

Broadcasters and Thank You Fund Ambassadors Pete Snodden and Eoghan McDermott joined the conversations, posing for photos amid bobbling golden number balloons – the one, three and zero signifying Coke's largest-ever funding commitment to the scheme.

“The variety and ingenuity of the projects receiving funding today is truly remarkable,” said TV and radio personality Eoghan.

“The brief issued by Coca-Cola was to develop projects that would inspire and support young people, and the not-for-profit groups of Ireland and Northern Ireland have certainly not disappointed.”

Why the fund is so important

Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister of State for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement was guest speaker at the event. He has a personal link with the fund as he previously took part in the process as a judge.

Thank You Fund Winners 2016

Minister Murphy went on to emphasise the importance of the fund. “Every young person needs the support of the community where they grow up,” he said.

“The best way to reach young people and help them acquire skills that they will use throughout their lives is by getting them involved with groups that serve their passions”
- Sabina Cotter, Head of Grants and Programmes at the Irish Youth Foundation


Empowering and engaging young people

“We need our families, but we also need organisations like those being rewarded today. If you can get a young person involved in an organisation or cause they care about, they become empowered to play a positive role in our community. They gain a circle of friends with similar interests and, as they gain more experience, can help those younger than themselves become involved as well. Among the projects receiving grants from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund today are many great examples of projects that will intrigue and engage young people.”

The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is delivered in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation and Youth Action Northern Ireland.

Transforming lives

Sabina Cotter, Head of Grants and Programmes at the Irish Youth Foundation, says the projects selected had the potential to transform the lives of young people.

“The best way to reach young people and help them acquire skills that they will use throughout their lives is by getting them involved with groups that serve their passions,” she said.

Positive role models

“There is no such thing as one size fits all, and the projects funded by the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund will appeal to a broad cross-section of young people. All are designed to make a strategic and impactful intervention in their lives. Furthermore, our communities stand to benefit as participants have an opportunity to be positive role models amongst their peers.”

Thank you to everyone who entered

Matthieu Seguin, ‎General Manager at Coca-Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland, says the number of applications for this year's awards scheme demonstrated the “appetite and enthusiasm” there was for helping young people fulfil their potential in Ireland.

“Thank you to everyone who entered the Fund this year – the contribution you make in the lives of young people every day across local communities is immensely valued,” he said.

Read the full list of 2016 Thank You Fund winners.

Applications for the Thank You Fund 2017 are now open. Find out more about the Thank You Fund 2017.