Georgetown-based Capital REACH, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has entered the “Pepsi Refresh Contest,” for the month of January. Through Pepsi Refresh, PepsiCo gives away millions in grant funds every month to organizations and individuals with ideas that positively impact their communities.
There are six different grant categories including: Health, Education, Arts and Culture, Food and Shelter, the Planet and Neighborhood. Four different grants offer between $5,000 and $250,000. REACH is competing with over 300 other organizations and individuals from around the country for a $50,000 Educational grant.
If they win, REACH will use the grant to distribute scholarship money to the neediest of the 150 students currently enrolled in their unique job training and internship program. Students in the program attend colleges and universities throughout the east coast, but are all residentially connected to the Washington, D.C. area.
“The most important thing for us is scholarships for these kids,” said Rosemary Becchi, the Director of the REACH program whose office is located in the Patton Boggs Law Firm on M Street. “Families across the nation have to go into major debt to pay for something as simple as an education for their child, and we’re trying to help with that.”
Large numbers of students and a down economy make it tough for students to find internships during college and employment thereafter.
The Pepsi Refresh grant would help REACH funnel more scholarship money to the students that currently undergo their rigorous job training sessions and internship placement program. The organization has relationships with 100s of local private and government firms that hire student for internships and full-time jobs throughout the year.
To date, the Capital Area REACH program has placed over 350 students in internships that lead to full time paying jobs after employment.
“If not for REACH, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today, especially with the economy and everything,” said Kaleab Tasfeye, a REACH student who was in the job training program during the summer of 2009 and now works as an auditor for the Department of Defense. REACH helped Tasfeye pay for classes and housing at Old Dominion University where he graduated with a double major in Accounting and Finance. “Finding an internship and getting work experience is very difficult, so their program is a great benefit.”
Currently they are promoting their grant idea on Facebook and Twitter as well as various community outreach events. You can easily vote for their idea by texting 105370 to 73774 daily, they are currently ranked 294 and need to break the top 10 to win.
For more information on Capital REACH’s Pepsi Refresh grant idea, check out their web page on the Pepsi website at refresheverything.com/capitalreachprogram where you can also vote for their idea.