Monday, February 1, 2010

Pepsi Refresh Project

The current Pepsi logo (December 2008-).Image via Wikipedia
The year I entered high school, we were the very first graduating class to have mandatory 40 hours of community service.  I remember thinking, well that just figures.  I'm the lucky one that gets that added must do to graduate.   I look back, and I'm still a bit embarrassed with myself for ever feeling that way.  It is a bit strange that I did anyways because I was an animal activist from middle school on.  Plus I was big into the environment from elementary school on.  I used to drive my parents crazy with ways to save the earth.  My dad still calls me the tree hugger of the family.  

Really though, I think it was more of the idea of the school requiring it over anything.  Trying to fit something else in around working full time, getting good grades & of course partying with friends :)  I did my 40 hours and even have some funny stories to tell.  Now though, I'm trying to raise my girls with the idea of always trying to help someone.  Since money has always been an issue with our household, I have tried to focus more on giving up things, doing things vs. the giving money.  

For 2010, Pepsi is launching a fabulous campaign TODAY!  It is called, Pepsi Refresh Project.  You have have started seeing commercials for it already, I know I saw a few this weekend. 

Through the Pepsi Refresh Project, Pepsi will give away more than $20 million dollars to fund projects – both big and small – that help make communities better. The company invested significant resources, and opted not to advertise at the Superbowl this year, in order to support meaningful social engagement.   I just think that is totally amazing.  We all know the crazy amounts of money companies spend on those super bowl commercials.  Just think what we could do if more companies would do this!  Definitely makes me a bit happier to be spending so much money on Sierra Mist for hubby & my 16.9oz bottles of Pepsi for days I'm out w/ with kids!

Back to the amazing project ~ Whether a local playground needs an upgrade to make it more handicapped accessible; a park needs new lights or speed bumps to make it safer; or your favorite library needs new computers, Pepsi wants to hear what needs they can help fulfill for you and your community. 

Each month, you have the opportunity to submit a project in one of six categories: health, arts & culture, food & shelter, the planet, neighborhood, or education. Then, at the end of the month, Pepsi will post the top submissions on their website and let the public vote on who should win grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 (totaling up to $1.3 million dollars!) 

So, how can you participate?  Well starting today, you can submit your idea.  Do you have something in your community that needs work?  My daughters want me to submit for a playground near us.  We have this nice strip of land in between our sub and the next one.  Back when I was a kid, it was supposed to be a little playground, but there was never the funding for it.  We have not a single place our kids can walk to for playing.  When we lived closer to Detroit, we had several parks in walking distance.  When I moved farther away from Detroit, I never thought I'd miss anything.  I never realized how nice it is to have a place to walk and play.  Especially with the crazy high gas prices!

The other way to participate, I really encourage you to do this each month ~ is by voting for the winners.  Help Pepsi pick the deserving cause.  I'm sure it will be a tough call, but put in your vote!

I'm including a small part of an interview as well.  Leave a comment if you are planning on submitting an idea!

Interview with Lauren Hobart, Mom and CMO of Sparking Brands at Pepsi.

Why is Pepsi Refresh Unique?
The program is unique because it puts the power in the hands of the consumer. Individuals submit their ideas and then the nation votes on the idea that moves them the most. This is done in a very ground up way. Essentially, we’ve democratized the process.

What is your advice for moms that have ideas about refreshing their communities? What level of grant is idea? How should they craft their submissions?
First figure out the size and scope of the idea. Most individuals should opt for the $5000 grant, but it really depends on the idea and who you’ll be working with to bring it to action. People should also remember that winning comes with the responsibility to bringing you idea to life. If you need inspiration, there are example ideas on the Pepsi Refresh website to help get you started as well as a toolkit that guides you through the application process.

Who are the ideal grant applicants?
There isn’t really an ideal applicant. Anyone over 13 and a US resident can submit an application for the program. That said, people who are tapped into many different networks and able to promote and share their ideas once submitted may have the best chance of success.

Who should be involved in the submission process? If my child has an idea, should she submit it, or should I, or should her teacher help?
Young children, particularly those under 13 years old, should work with parents or teacher. Pepsi Refresh offers an amazing opportunity for a teaching moment with parents since you can get your kids to think about what impact they can have how they can make a difference. The program can get them engaged, thinking and talking about their impact on the world in a whole new way.

You can connect with the Pepsi Refresh program via twitter (@Pepsi), facebook ( or at
I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Pepsi Refresh. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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