PepsiCo and its philanthropic arm, The PepsiCo Foundation, announced today a $500,000 2-year grant award to the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation (MCCF.) The grant is part of the PepsiCo Foundation Community College Program to provide scholarship opportunities for Black and Hispanic students across the country.  The Maricopa Community Colleges District (MCCCD) is one of 13 community college systems in the country to be added to this growing scholarship program.

“This grant specifically aims to help reduce barriers that so many of our MCCCD students face in completing their higher education aspirations,” said Brian F. Spicker, MCCF President and CEO. “In addition to scholarships, the PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship Program helps to close the wealth gap by providing access to higher education that will enable our students to acquire jobs in high growth career paths.”

The PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship program focuses on Black and Hispanic students enrolled in Associates degrees or professional certificate programs relating to careers within the Food Systems Industries, including Marketing & Sales, Advanced Manufacturing, Logistics, Information Technology, Cybersecurity, and others.

Approximately 1400 scholarship recipients nationwide will receive financial assistance to remove historical barriers to enrollment, persistence, and graduation, by the end of 2022. Scholars receive tuition assistance, eligible living expenses such as childcare and transportation, plus exclusive enrichment opportunities including PepsiCo career exploration, facility tours, job shadowing, and access to career preparation tools such as virtual workshops, resume writing, interview skills, and more.

The timing of the grant is particularly critical for the economic recovery of low income Black and Hispanic students, the leading demographic for college stop outs and drop outs during the pandemic.

“Black and Hispanic students are facing an unprecedented educational crisis as enrollment rates continue to decline and dropout rates increase, often because of financial needs outside of tuition. Students need more than scholarships – they need support to stay in school, finish their degrees and access the job market,” said C.D. Glin, Global Head of Philanthropy, PepsiCo & Vice President, The PepsiCo Foundation. “We launched this program to help students address the most critical barriers to their education and economic success, and we’re proud to announce today that we’re bringing more students in and helping them on their academic journey.”

“As a leading global corporation, PepsiCo understands the value that a diverse workforce can bring to any organization,” commented Dr. Steven Gonzales, MCCCD Interim Chancellor. “Their commitment to helping expand economic opportunities for Black and Hispanic communities through its wider Racial Equality Journey, a more than $570 million commitment over the next five years, will support Black and Hispanic people, businesses, and communities in the U.S. and directly address issues of inequality by creating opportunities.”

The PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship Program provides a way up for students. “It gives me more motivation to see that there are people out there willing to help others,” wrote MCCCD student Francisco M. Arispe. “I can’t wait to show my kids that if you believe and apply yourself you can be successful. I look forward to graduation and to show the PepsiCo Foundation that they were not wrong in choosing me for this scholarship.”

Online scholarship applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

For more information about the PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarship Program at the Maricopa Community Colleges, contact Donna Lopez Martinez, Student Services Director, Student Affairs, Maricopa Community Colleges at donna.lopez.martinez@domail.maricopa.edu or 480.731.8175.  Questions regarding scholarship opportunities can be directed to Karley Mellberg, Scholarship and Donor Relations Manager, Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, at karley.mellberg@domail.maricopa.edu or 480.731.8406. Please contact Judy Sanchez, Chief Development Officer, Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, at judy.sanchez@domail.maricopa.edu or 480.731.8739 for other opportunities for support.

Information about PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey can be found at pepsico.com/about/diversity-and-engagement.