PepsiCo Donates $250K to Fight Food Insecurity at HBCUs

The soda-and-snack food giant is donating $50,000 each to five historically Black colleges and universities to fund food pantries, create meal plans, organize cooking and prep workshops, and more.
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Published on November 20, 2023
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  • PepsiCo said the funds will impact more than 37,500 students facing food insecurity.
  • The company is also giving away 2,000 meals to students.
  • Last year, PepsiCo donated $400,000 to Bunker Hill Community College in Boston to expand Black and Hispanic student access to higher education.

PepsiCo is helping to fight food insecurity at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with a quarter-million-dollar donation to five HBCUs.

The soda-and-snack food giant announced Nov. 2 that it is giving $50,000 each to Morgan State University, Prairie View A&M University, Florida A&M University, Jackson State University, and Bethune-Cookman University throughout November.

"The universities selected each take different approaches to remove the burden of where students' next meal is coming from and return the focus to their education," the press release said.

The funds will impact more than 37,500 students facing food insecurity by funding campus food pantries, creating meal plans for students experiencing homelessness, creating cooking and meal prep workshops, establishing stipends for student pantry staff workers, and more.

The company is also giving 2,000 meals to students during finals weeks in December.

Around 23% of U.S. undergraduate students were food insecure in 2020. The epidemic intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, with hunger rates almost doubling in some states in 2020. College students who were food insecure were less likely to earn bachelor's degrees than those who were food secure.

The donation is part of the PepsiCo HBCU Tour investing in HBCU students by taking part in events during football season, on-campus events, dinners highlighting local businesses, and opportunities to engage with PepsiCo leadership.

"As a longtime supporter of HBCUs, PepsiCo has always aimed to help students thrive, both on campus and beyond. This year, our HBCU Tour continues to celebrate each universities' rich culture and recognize the wealth of talent on campus, while also addressing the barriers students can face in completing their education," Kent Montgomery, PepsiCo senior vice president of industry relations and multicultural development, said in the company's press release.

"Our donation to tackle food insecurity is another example of our commitment to empower students and ensure their success in every aspect of their educational journey."

This isn't the first time PepsiCo has supported college students of color.

Last year, PepsiCo donated $400,000 to Bunker Hill Community College in Boston to support over 85 students through the PepsiCo Foundation's Uplift Scholarship program for Black and Hispanic student access to higher education.

The $40 million scholarship program has provided 1,800 scholarships in over 20 cities for students seeking two-year associate degrees, trade certificates, and seeking to transition to four-year colleges, according to a PepsiCo progress report in December.

"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 a press release at the time.

"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."

Corporate America Steps Up Support for HBCUs

Last year, Toyota donated $500,000 to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to train future science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) educators and create the Toyota STEAM Lab where future educators can get a practice-based education with K-12 students.

A few months later, Verizon Wireless helped Howard University in Washington, D.C., launch its esports lab and gave scholarships to a team of five women, guaranteeing internships at game companies and access to the Verizon 5G Gaming Center in Los Angeles.

This year, the NBA's Charlotte Hornets supported HBCU esports by giving $10,000 to the Esports and Gaming Management program at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina.