Coca-Cola Asks Younger Generations How We Can Protect Communities of the Future

The brand will give $30,000 grants to people ages 18 through 24

The program stems from a longstanding Coca-Cola tradition, the Coca-Cola Scholar Foundation, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. YouTube: The Coca-Cola Co.
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The Coca-Cola Company is on a mission to make the world a better place. Today, the brand kicks off a new effort designed to give a younger generation of leaders a chance to support and elevate their local communities.

The mission behind the “Dear Future [Community] Challenge” is to encourage young people ages 18 through 24 to submit ideas that will hopefully help renew, strengthen and build up the cities they live in. While the challenge applies to 15 chosen communities, there’s also a national competition for people who don’t live in or near those locations.

“Consumers—and especially consumers in the communities—know what is important to their towns, as do our local community partners, as do our bottling partners,” explained Caren Pasquale Seckler, vp, social commitment for Coca-Cola North America. “We really want write the next chapter together with ‘Dear Future’ by engaging consumers and doing something together, [as well as] engaging all of our local partners in identifying all of the issues that are truly meaningful to them.”

The program stems from a longstanding Coca-Cola tradition, the Coca-Cola Scholar Foundation, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The foundation supports roughly 1,400 college students each year by providing scholarship money and access to mentorships and Coca-Cola alumni. Coca-Cola focuses on working with students who are looking to make a difference in their larger community, which ties nicely with this latest “Dear Future” campaign and program.

Beginning today, anyone between the ages of 18 and 24 can submit an idea they believe would truly support their community for the better in the future, whether that’s through clean water, recycling and sustainability or diversity and inclusion. Winning ideas will be awarded a $30,000 grant from The Coca-Cola Company and winners will get access to bottlers, former Coca-Cola Scholars and other community partners to help turn winning ideas into a reality.

To bring some awareness to the program, the brand created an ad dubbed “Dear Future,” which includes print, social and TV spots. Over 60 Coca-Cola employees star in the campaign, as well as some of the brand’s scholars.


“When we started to tell our story, we really felt like we could tap more into communities where we work and live. We want to inspire but we also want to be inspired by really great ideas and actions from people who care about those communities that would help our hometowns thrive in the future,” Seckler said.

Coca-Cola selected 15 cities across the country where young people can apply for one of the $30,000 grants. There’s a national opportunity as well for those that reside outside of the selected spots.

“Dear Future Portland” asks what can be done to empower young people to become the next generation of community leaders while “Dear Future Dallas” explores military service men and women successfully transitioning into civilian jobs. The “Dear Future Leaders National” focuses on how to get Americans to recycle.

Winning ideas will be selected in October, and the winners will begin to execute their ideas with the support of Coca-Cola in 2019.

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.