Please note: The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund 2019 has now ended. Applications for 2020 will open next year.

It’s fair to say that 2019 is going to be a big year for the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund. With the scheme set to hit €1,000,000 in donations to youth-oriented non-profits since 2011, we were left with one very big excuse to celebrate its annual launch better than we ever have before. Fortunately, we had a couple of familiar faces to help with the efforts…

Late Late Show host, Ryan Tubridy and Cool FM star, Pete Snodden, were on hand at our launch events in Dublin and Lisburn to welcome fresh applications for this year and celebrate the achievements of the fund’s recipients from years gone by. Of course, we thought it a great idea to head down ourselves and hear more from the pair – plus many others – on why the Thank You Fund is still so influential, nine years after it first began.

“It’s so important that young people are involved in projects that will empower them to become confident leaders of the future,” said Tubridy. “They need to be supported to bring about change and the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is giving community leaders and hardworking non-profit organisations across Ireland the ability to activate programmes that are doing just that.”

Operated in partnership with The Irish Youth Foundation and Youth Action Northern Ireland, the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund works with a range of charities, community and voluntary organisations, sporting groups and NGOs to back creative new initiatives that inspire and support young people aged 16-25 across Ireland.

Pete Snodden was joined in Lisburn by Dame Mary Peters, of 2018 beneficiary the Mary Peters Trust.

At the launch event in Lisburn, Pete Snodden was joined by the Mary Peters Trust, a fund supporting Northern Ireland’s athletes that became a Thank You Fund beneficiary last year. “The grant awarded to the Mary Peter Trust, and indeed all of last year’s winners, has the capacity to change the lives of young people who may otherwise have lost their way,” he said. “I’ve had the great privilege of seeing the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund grow over the years and indeed the real impact it has had on local community groups here in Northern Ireland.”

Over in Dublin, Ryan Tubridy was similarly joined by 2018 winner, Children’s Books Ireland. Last year, this project, which works to re-engage teenagers living in emergency accommodation with books and reading, received €10,000 from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund. “Literacy is one of the best investments we as a community can make in our future, so to see projects like this one from Children’s Books Ireland come to light because of the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is great,” Tubridy commented.

This year, grants totaling €100,000 will be awarded to projects under the categories of education and training, diversity and inclusion in young people, and those with an innovative approach to demonstrating sustainability. Applications for funding can be made at until midnight on Friday 12 July.

Once that deadlines passes, the applications will be reviewed and whittled down to a shortlist of 20. Leaders of those shortlisted projects will then be invited to present their ideas to a panel of judges in September. And, back by popular demand, a ‘People’s Choice Award’ will also form part of the 2019 Thank You Fund. This invites members of the public to vote for their favourite project among the final 20 shortlisted.

The winners of the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund and the People’s Choice Award will be announced at Zeminar, a three day exhibition focusing on the mental and physical wellbeing of 16-20 year olds in Ireland, which takes place in National Sports Campus in Dublin from 8-10 October 2019.

Ryan Tubridy kept the guests entertained.

Also, at the launch event in Dublin was Petre Sandru, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland. “The Coca Cola Thank You Fund was set-up to enable a network of youth-orientated groups and organisations to effect change, so we’re delighted to once again be making €100,000 in funding available to this year’s applicants,” he commented. “Inspired by the creativity of the leaders in our local community each year, we feel so privileged as a company to be part of their story and supporting their efforts to empower our future change leaders.”

Witnessing the empowering work done by the Thank You Fund first hand, Tubridy encouraged community leaders across the island of Ireland to put their ideas into action and apply for funding: “If you’ve an idea for a project that will inspire young people in your local area, I’d encourage you to check out the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, with €100,000 in grants up for grabs.”

So, why not go ahead and do exactly that? If you’re part of a worthy project, or if you’ve simply got a good idea for one, follow this link and apply!