PepsiCo Expands Scholarship Program With $400,000 Donation to Community College

The PepsiCo Foundation's donation to Bunker Hill Community College is the latest as part of its wide-reaching Uplift Scholarship program.
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  • Bunker Hill Community College in Boston received $400,000 in Uplift Scholarship funding from the PepsiCo Foundation.
  • The scholarship program aims to make higher education more accessible to students of color.
  • The nationwide program has funded roughly 1,800 scholarships across more than 20 cities so far, according to PepsiCo.
  • Many large employers have eyed community colleges for workforce development and scholarships in recent years.

Boston's Bunker Hill Community College is getting $400,000 as part of the PepsiCo Foundation's community college scholarships, officials announced last month, marking one of the latest expansions of a nationwide program.

The funding, which will support more than 85 student scholarships at Bunker Hill Community College, is part of the PepsiCo Foundation's Uplift Scholarship program. That scholarship program launched last year to help Black and Hispanic students access higher education.

The $40 million scholarship initiative includes Uplift Scholarships for students seeking two-year associate degrees or trade certificates and other scholarships to help community college students transition to four-year institutions.

To date, Pepsico's Uplift program has funded roughly 1,800 scholarships across more than 20 cities, according to a PepsiCo progress update released earlier this year.

There are already 84 students at Bunker Hill Community College with an Uplift Scholarship, according to a release. The program provides for more than just financial aid: It also ties in success coaching, emergency grants, and access to financial literacy resources.

"This money has meant the world to me," Marc Ramirez, a business student and Uplift Scholarship recipient, said in the release. "It has allowed me to concentrate on my studies and to make better decisions for my future and my family's."

PepsiCo has donated to community colleges across the country as part of the Uplift Scholarship program: In September, the PepsiCo Foundation announced a $500,000 donation to the Milwaukee Area Technical College. That school's program will benefit a total of 160 Black and Hispanic and Latino/a students over two years with $2,000 scholarships.

Bunker Hill Community College President Pam Eddinger said the scholarships "make a real difference in students' lives and help to give them the financial freedom they need to be successful."

PepsiCo is one of several national employers to eye community colleges for scholarships and workforce development. Microsoft announced a campaign to recruit 250,000 people from community colleges into the cybersecurity field by 2025, and Google has in recent years rapidly expanded its career certificate program to community colleges.

"Two years ago, when we began this journey, we knew we wanted the Uplift Scholarship Program to make a difference in the lives of students — to break down those barriers to success," PepsiCo General Manager and Senior Director Bill Larrabee said in the release. "We are proud to be a company that is experiencing enormous growth here in Boston and beyond in management, leadership, and many other positions. As students here evaluate all their career options, we hope they will consider PepsiCo."