PepsiCo Launches $7 Million Initiative To Help U.S. Communities Hardest Hit By COVID-19

by cdawkins

Pictured: Steven Williams, Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo Foods North America.

In response to alarming evidence of the continued disparate, negative impact of COVID-19, PepsiCo, Inc. and its philanthropic arm, The PepsiCo Foundation, launched an initiative to provide increased medical and economic aid to communities of color across the country where the company has long worked. The $7 million initiative is a comprehensive project to support immediate relief and long-term recovery.

The program will provide $1 million each to the National Urban League and UnidosUS to help feed families and seniors, increase medical care and testing, expand access to government support and provide technology for remote education and work, with a portion of the funds focused on post-recovery relief. An additional $5 million will go to local nonprofit partners to provide support and services that meet the specific needs of Black and Latino communities, including:

  • COVID-19 testing and screening
  • Access to affordable nutrition
  • Healthcare services
  • Education, job training and business resources
  • Economic and childcare assistance
  • Family and senior housing

The PepsiCo Foundation is also providing a $100,000 grant to the Farmworkers Pandemic Relief Fund, providing critical emergency assistance to America’s farmworkers who are supporting our food supply during the pandemic, many of whom are vulnerable.

“COVID-19 has once again put a spotlight on the deep-rooted health and economic disparities that have long faced communities of color,” said Steven Williams, Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo Foods North America. “In response to this, we’re helping to provide immediate relief and support long-term recovery for Black and Latino communities. But just as these inequities existed well before coronavirus, we will continue to do our part and be a partner to these communities in the months and years ahead.”

PepsiCo’s investment comes as unemployment and infection rates among Black and Latino communities continue to spike. Communities of color represent a higher percentage of total COVID-19 infections than they do the national population while the mortality rate for Black and Latino people combined is more than twice than their white counterparts. This disparity only worsens at the local level—in Milwaukee County, for example, Black populations account for 26% of the population but 70% of coronavirus deaths, and in the Bay Area, Latino residents make up 37% of COVID-19 cases but just 21% of the population. Additionally, the economic effects of COVID-19 are also falling unequally on these communities. In April, 16.7% of Black and 18.9% of Latino Americans were out of work, compared to a national rate of 14.7%. For workers of color, especially women, who account for a disproportionate number of “essential” service workers, plans to reopen pose a significant public health risk.

“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,” said Kirk Tanner, Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo Beverages North America. “That’s why PepsiCo, our brands and our people have mobilized to offer our support. And we know a crisis of this scale requires a collective effort. We’re calling on our partners and network to support the communities of color that we are proud to serve and where our teams live and work.”

Support from PepsiCo is directed to 15 of the nation’s hardest-hit metro areas that have high populations of Black and Latino residents and are among the cities where the company has strong ties and where many of its employees live and serve, specifically: Baltimore, the Bay AreaBostonChicagoDallasDenverDetroitLos AngelesMemphis, Miami-Dade, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York City, St. Louis and Washington D.C. Having invested in partnerships to support vulnerable communities across the U.S. for decades, PepsiCo’s new initiative offers near-term public health assistance while also supporting long-term economic revival through employment and homeownership counseling as well as job fairs and employment connections.

Funds are going to local affiliates of UnidosUS and the National Urban League as well as directly to dozens of highly effective local nonprofit organizations, including $500,000 to each of the following:

  • Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan to address mental health, food, hygiene, and healthcare inequity for African Americans;
  • Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles Angeleno Campaign to distribute $1,000 cash cards for families experiencing extreme financial hardship; and
  • Greater Washington Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to provide food, cash assistance, medical care and support for small female-led businesses.

PepsiCo has been a long-time supporter of both the National Urban League and UnidosUS (formerly known as National Council of La Raza) with over 35 years of partnership and partners with a range of minority-focused organizations to positively impact communities throughout the year and during times of crisis. Recognizing the entrenched inequity in the U.S., The PepsiCo Foundation has invested more than $16.5 million in programs that support people of color living in U.S. communities from 2018 into 2019, with investments focused on nutrition and health; education, job training skills development and business growth; job creation and talent development; and advancing equality.

“Our long-valued partnership with PepsiCo has grown even more vital during this time of unprecedented need,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “PepsiCo’s commitment to empowering communities of color allows the Urban League Movement to continue paving a path forward, and to expand and intensify our service as America’s economic first responders.”

“We are deeply grateful for the generous and timely support of our COVID-19 response from PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS. “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. This commitment from PepsiCo will directly support the UnidosUS Esperanza/Hope Fund benefitting our network of Affiliated community-based organizations who are on the frontlines helping combat the health and economic impact of COVID-19 on the Latino community, from creating food delivery programs to offering mental health services via telemedicine portals. We commend PepsiCo for serving as an example of how the business sector can play an important role in addressing the health and economic impacts of this crisis and in the long-term recovery.”

This initiative builds on PepsiCo’s more than $50 million global commitment to provide vital support to those impacted by the devasting COVID-19 virus, which includes distributing more than 50 million nutritious meals to at-risk populations. In addition to increasing access to nutrition, PepsiCo is also funding protective gear for healthcare workers, investing in testing and screening services and providing financial support for U.S. restaurant workers. PepsiCo brands, including Quaker, Aquafina, Gatorade and Stacy’s, have donated more than 8 million servings of foods and beverages to communities across the U.S., including hospitals and healthcare communities. On April 18, Pepsi partnered with Global Citizen to host “One World: Together at Home,” a concert to celebrate healthcare workers that raised $127 million for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. And Frito-Lay North America is partnering with Feeding America to donate $50 for every #JoyGivers posted through June 12 to raise up to $1 million.



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