Pepsi puts $500,000 toward COVID-19 relief in Memphis

PepsiCo Foundation is putting $500,000 towards coronavirus pandemic relief in Memphis. PepsiCo Foundation is the philanthropic arm of PepsiCo, the global soft drink powerhouse.

They're working with the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, which will use the funds to help relieve food insecurity and housing instability among Memphians with no health insurance. 

The funds are part of PepsiCo Foundation's $7 million commitment to pandemic relief in Black and Latinx communities nationwide. The philanthropy has pledge $50 million globally.

"Across the nation, the burden of COVID-19 is being disproportionately shouldered by Black and Latino communities that are facing higher rates of hospitalization, death, and economic hardships ... we know a crisis of this scale requires a collective effort,” said Kirk Tanner, CEO of Pepsi's North American operations.

Prior to the pandemic, the foundation focused support for communities of color on nutrition and health, education, job training, business growth, talent development, and equality.

The $7 million includes $1 million donations to two national organizations, the National Urban League and UnidosUS, and $5 million for local partner organizations like the Community Foundation. 

“At a time when Latinos and other communities of color are being so hard hit, we need immediate action for emergency resources from all sectors," said Janet Murguía, president and CEO of UnidosUS.

The $5 million will be split between 15 of the nation’s hardest-hit metro areas with high populations of residents of color and strong ties to Pepsi Co., specifically cities where its employees live and work. The list includes several cities that are often compared to Memphis—Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Baltimore.

To-date, the Pepsi foundation's pandemic relief efforts have included distributing more than 50 million meals to at-risk communities, providing PPE for healthcare workers, providing financial support for restaurant workers, and investing in COVID-19 testing and screening.

PepsiCo also partnered with Global Citizen in April to host a concert celebrating healthcare workers that raised $127 million for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 response fund. 
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Read more articles by Cole Bradley.

Cole Bradley is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis. Cole's worked locally as a researcher and community engagement strategist and began contributing to High Ground in Jan 2017.