Shortlisted charity and community groups to pitch their ideas for empowering and supporting young people across the island of Ireland

  • Coca-Cola research on parents hopes for young people shows that 82% want their children to go to third level education
  • 67% of parents are concerned for their child’s future employment prospects
  • 63% of parents worry about their child being led astray by peer groups

14th September 2017 Coca-Cola Ireland today revealed the shortlist of 20 non-profit organisations in this year’s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, which aims to empower and support young people across the island of Ireland. The groups were selected for their ideas to bridge the divide between education and the workplace, foster diversity and inclusion in communities, and empower young people to become the leaders of the future. The selected groups will now continue in the process to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a share of the €100,000 Fund.

The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is delivered in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation and Youth Action Northern Ireland. Shortlisted from over 200 entries, the 20 shortlisted youth organisations are in the running to receive a grant of €30,000, €10,000 or €5,000 following their presentation to the panel of judges. Winners will be announced at Zeminar, Ireland’s largest Youth Conference, in the RDS on Thursday 12th October 2017.

In understanding the need for funding to support youth development across the island of Ireland, Coca-Cola Ireland commissioned research to establish the ambitions and concerns of parents of young people. The research found that 82% of parents feel it is important for their child to continue education into third level, and this gains further significance with 67% of parents concerned for their child’s future employment prospects. While the number one aspiration of parents (35%) is for their child to create a life they enjoy, 63% have worries and concerns over their children being led astray by peer groups. Top issues on the minds of parents included concerns around drugs (21%), followed by general societal challenges such as unemployment and high costs of living (15%).  

The research also revealed that if their children wanted to emigrate, nearly half of parents (48%) would understand but rather their child stayed in Ireland. 45% said they would be excited for their child to explore life in another country.

Through the Thank You Fund, Coca-Cola Ireland is seeking to fund youth focused projects that will provide youths across Ireland and Northern Ireland with opportunities to engage in their community and participate in programmes and activities that will in the long term equip them with the skills and experiences they need to be successful and involved in today’s society.      

Petre Șandru, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland said: “Coca-Cola has a long history of supporting non-profit organisations in Ireland and Northern Ireland and for the last couple of years the Fund has put a particular focus on supporting youth focused initiatives. This is the seventh year of the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund and we are delighted to announce that 20 non-profit organisations across the country have been chosen for the pitch phase of the process. This year, we are once again rewarding projects which have the potential to inspire young people and equip them with a range of skills they will use throughout their lives and careers. The groups are being invited to pitch at the end of the month with the winners set to be announced in October.  The quality of the entries and the ideas received this year was really inspiring. It made the shortlisting very difficult but the 20 chosen by the judges really did highlight some truly innovative ideas to support our youth across the country.  We’re looking forward to hearing each of them pitch over the coming weeks and ultimately choosing our winners who will be awarded their grants in October. I wish all of the shortlisted groups the best of luck throughout this exciting phase.”

Sabina Cotter, Head of Grants and Programmes, Irish Youth Foundation said: “It is with great pleasure that we are today announcing the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund shortlist. We reviewed over 200 applications this year and while it was great to see so many quality applications it also meant that we had some tough decisions to make. Last year we discovered some fantastic initiatives and we are confident that we have found some equally innovative projects this year. Young people need support if they are to develop and reach their full potential and the community plays an important role in that development. Youth groups and activities run out of them are vital to helping young people become contributors and leaders in society. Through the Fund, a wealth of new programmes will come into existence that will have a very real impact on the local community, and that’s something we are very happy to support.” 

Now in its seventh year, the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund was set up in 2011 to mark the 125th anniversary of the company. Over the years, the Fund has supported projects including community, social and education programmes aimed at youth, promoting healthy and active lifestyles, and environmental leadership. To date €755,000 has been given to 56 non-profit organisations in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In 2017, €100,000 will be made available in grants to non-profit and community groups for projects that inspire and support young people.

More information about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is available at