The South Bronx United Soccer Club has an idea. Help at-risk youth get into college by combining education and soccer. But launching an idea isn’t easy without funding. So, South Bronx United, a nonprofit youth development organization that serves about 450 boys and girls, submitted an entry for a $25,000 grant to Pepsi Refresh.
Pepsi’s project, one half corporate advertising and one half social giving, is awards over $1 million each month to fund charitable ideas. The ideas that receive the most public votes at the end of the month are given grants. Votes can be cast online at www.refresheverything.com and through text messaging.
Public interest in the project has been so high that it took three months for South Bronx United’s application to even get submitted (proposals have to submitted on the first of the month at exactly at 12:01 a.m. to stand a chance) and another month to appear on the website. In the meantime, South Bronx United has gone ahead to start an after-school tutoring program for 100 youth in its travel program and has continued to hold college planning nights for its high school students, but funding is necessary to sustain the program.
Four other Bronx organizations are also in the running for grants and all aim to serve the borough’s youth. Good Shepherd Services and Elevate New York are in the $250,000 category, where just two awards are given per month. Public School 170 Arts Program and Project Life Impact are in the running for $50,000. Ten awards are given per month in this category. Since the Pepsi Refresh project began in February, a total of 18 ideas have proposed to provide services in the Bronx. None have won and in fact none have even finished in the top 100 of their monetary category.
South Bronx United is hoping to break that streak. It ranks 78th after one week, and needs to rise into the Top 10 to win a grant. Good Shepherd services also sat in 72nd of the $250k category after one week, but needs to be one of the top two ideas to win the grant. Each organization has spent the first week of November voting reaching out to their networks to encourage voting. They dream of what a grant award could bring and are calling upon the entire borough to log online or sent text messages to support the cause. But even if they don’t win, they hope the campaigns will have increased awareness in their programs and the issues facing Bronx youth.
“We need to mobilize the community to support our youth programs, starting now with a simple vote each day. Each organization does wonders for Bronx youth and deserves the public support and recognition not only at home, but nationwide,” says Andrew So, Executive Director of South Bronx United.
To vote for each organization, go to their Pepsi Refresh pages or send their text message code to Pepsi at 737-74. You can vote for all five organizations once per day.
South Bronx United Soccer Club, “Help at-risk youth get into college by combining education and soccer.”
www.refresheverything/southbronxunited and Text: “103675” to 737-74.
Good Shepherd Services, “Prevent obesity and diabetes in at-risk Bronx and Brooklyn youth.”
www.refresheverything.com/isaac-gss and Text: “104116” to 737-74.
Elevate New York, “Launch an education, mentoring nonprofit at 3 schools in the Bronx.”
www.refresheverything.com/elevatenewyork and Text: “104159” to 737-74.
PS 170, “Keep art in the heart of the Bronx: Save our afterschool arts program.”
www.refresheverything.com/bronx170 and Text: “103966” to 737-74.
Project Life Impact, “Provide Bronx students Free after school impact programs.”
www.refresheverything.com/asibronx and Text: “103956” to 737-74.