TALLAHASSEE, FL. – The Florida Prepaid College Foundation (FPCF) today announced it is partnering with Coca-Cola Beverages LLC (Coke Florida) to award $2.8 million in college scholarships to students living in the most poverty-stricken zip codes in the state.
Coke Florida’s donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation to fund the dreams of 250 economically disadvantaged students over the next 10 years. The donation is among the largest to the Path to Prosperity Scholarship Program, a partnership established in 2021 with the Florida Chamber Foundation to reduce childhood poverty in our state by providing a pathway to college for Florida students.
Coke Florida will start awarding the “Coke Florida Refreshing Minds Scholarships” to high school seniors this school year. Their donation brings FPCF and the Chamber almost halfway to their goal of securing $10 million in donations, to be matched dollar-for-dollar for a total of $20 milllion.
“We are committed to strengthening the communities we serve across the state of Florida through initiatives that support education and economic empowerment,” said Troy D. Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Coke Florida. “By providing targeted and much needed financial resources to economically disadvantaged students, it is our hope that we can help empower students and address educational inequities, which we see as a root cause of generational poverty.”
Coke Florida and the Florida Prepaid College Foundation have elected to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters Association of Florida and the Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs to deliver the scholarship program. The organizations offer enrichment and support programs to their members and alumni and will assist students with the Coke Florida Refreshing Minds Scholarship application process. Scholarship eligibility criteria includes a focus on identifying students in geographic areas with the highest percentages of childhood poverty. Recipients will be announced annually in the Spring.
“When companies like Coke Florida make long-term investments in education, we can increase our ability to reach more students,” said Kevin Thompson, Executive Director of the Florida Prepaid College Board and the Florida Prepaid College Foundation. “We commend Coke Florida for this incredible investment which contributes to our collective goal of reducing poverty rates statewide and providing opportunities for students to attend for college.”
Right now, more than 700,000 Florida children are living in poverty. Half of these children are concentrated in just 15 percent of Florida’s zip codes – resulting in extremely impoverished communities where children face a much greater likelihood of academic challenges, health risks and other obstacles.
Since the Path to Prosperity Scholarship Program launched in 2021, almost 500 students have been awarded scholarships thanks to donations from Florida Power & Light Company , Florida Blue, and many more.
Learn more about the Path to Prosperity Scholarship Program, the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and its donors at www.pathtoprosperityscholarship.com.