Coca-Cola 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, empower young people to become the leaders of the future, and welcome innovative approaches to sustainability. 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.

A new element this year is ‘The People’s Choice Award’. The 20 shortlisted organisations have been posted on www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou where the public are encouraged to vote based on a summary of each project. The winning organisation will receive up to €10,000 in funding from the Coca-Cola Thank You 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 Tuesday 13th November 2018.

Through the Thank You Fund, Coca-Cola is seeking to fund youth focused projects that will provide young people 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 few years the Fund has put a particular focus on supporting initiatives aimed at young people. This is the eighth 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. We’re looking forward to hearing each of the groups pitch over the coming weeks and ultimately choosing our winners who will be awarded their grants in November. 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. The projects shortlisted have responded to the Fund’s themes in a variety of creative ways. All are innovative and engaging and have at their core a commitment to setting up young people for positive futures. Last year we discovered some fantastic initiatives and we are confident that we have found some equally innovative projects this year. 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. We look forward to meeting the shortlisted organisations and seeing the grants awarded to those groups which are in a position to have the most profound impact.”

Now in its eighth 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 €855,000 has been given to 70 non-profit organisations in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In 2018, €100,000 will be made available in grants to non-profit and community groups for projects that inspire and support young people. The groups are being invited to pitch in October with the winners set to be announced in November.  

More information about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is available at www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou.