Coca-Cola Bottler Partners With HBCU to Support Scholarships, Athletics

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United will build a new athletics facility at Alabama State University and give the school $200,000 to support student success.
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Published on August 21, 2023
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  • Coca-Cola Bottling Company United will give Alabama State University $200,000 for student scholarships as part of a new partnership.
  • That new partnership will also include a workout facility for the athletics department.
  • Coca-Cola Bottling Company United will also provide the university band with an 18-wheel trailer and set up a recycling program at ASU as part of the partnership.
  • Both the independently held bottling company and the soft drink manufacturer have ramped up investments in higher education in recent years.

A new workout facility, an 18-wheel trailer for the band, and $200,000 to support student success are all part of a new partnership between a Coca-Cola bottling company and Alabama State University (ASU).

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United and ASU, a historically Black public university in Montgomery, Alabama, announced the agreement Aug. 14. The partnership — part of a five-year contract between the school and the privately held Coca-Cola bottling company — will include a $200,000 donation to support student scholarships, according to a press release.

"Today, we are making history, as Coca-Cola United has come together with ASU to promote student success by donating to us a check for $200,000 that will aid student scholarships, as well as also giving to the University a list of items that will do such things as enhance our campus's appearance and environment, help student-athletes, assist the Mighty Marching Hornets Band, and generally lift up our student body," retired Col. Gregory Clark, vice president for institutional advancement and executive director of the Alabama State University Foundation, said in the release.

"This is a great partnership for both parties, and we look forward to working with them."

In addition to the $200,000 for student scholarships, ASU stands to get several other benefits from the deal with Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, including a new workout facility for the athletics department, an 18-wheel trailer for the university band, and a recycling program.

"This is much more to us than getting students to simply use our products," Beryl Jackson, an on-premise sales manager for Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, said in the release. “To Montgomery's Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, it is helping to continue and advance so many things, both old and new, that help our ASU students excel and succeed."

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United is one of the largest privately held Coca-Cola bottlers in the United States and is independent from the soft drink company, although both organizations have a lengthy history of supporting higher education.

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United earlier this year gave $250,000 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Live HealthSmart Alabama initiative, which aims to boost community leadership and health.

The Coca-Cola Company itself has in recent years ramped up investments at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including funding grants for HBCU students studying sports journalism. The company and its foundation have contributed "more than $17 million to HBCUs and national scholarship funds supporting HBCU students" over the past five years, according to a 2022 release.

One of those scholarships includes the Coca-Cola Foundation First Generation HBCU Scholarship offered through a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which is available to first-generation students who are set to attend college at one of the fund's member schools.