Emory Report
September 8, 2008
Volume 61, Number 3



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8, 2008
Coca-Cola gift sustains long legacy of giving


The Coca-Cola Foundation has pledged $3 million to Emory University over the next five years to provide scholarships, fellowships, and support for sustainability projects in Atlanta neighborhoods.

Two-thirds of the grant will support the Emory Advantage financial aid program for undergraduate students in Goizueta Business School and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. The remaining third will fund student and faculty efforts to protect metro Atlanta’s natural resources through the Sustainable Partnerships for Atlanta Neighborhoods project.

“Emory has been blessed in its long relationship with The Coca-Cola Company,” says President Jim Wagner. “This pledge is further evidence of Coca-Cola’s continued dedication to the city of Atlanta, to education, and to Emory. We are grateful for the partnership.”

“Education is the single greatest force enabling people worldwide to improve their lives and make a difference in their communities,” says Ingrid Saunders Jones, chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “We’re honored to assist deserving students achieve their dreams of higher education. We are also pleased to play a critical role in the preservation and sustainability of Atlanta area communities.”

The donation from The Coca-Cola Foundation aligns closely with the company’s global community investment pillars, which support water stewardship, community recycling, healthy active lifestyles, and education. The Coca-Cola Foundation has contributed more than $278 million to serve and support sustainable communities.

Emory Advantage is a financial aid initiative designed to reduce financial barriers and assist in making an Emory education accessible to any qualified student. The initiative’s loan replacement grant program substitutes traditional need-based loans with grants for students with total family incomes less than $50,000 a year. The loan cap program limits need-based borrowing to $15,000 for students with total family incomes between $50,000 and $100,000.

Coca-Cola’s $2 million gift to the initiative will be called The Coca-Cola Foundation Emory Advantage Financial Aid Endowment. Funds will support Emory Advantage-eligible business and nursing school students, with preference for students who also are the first in their immediate families to attend college and who have at least a 3.0 grade point average.

The Sustainable Partnerships for Atlanta Neighborhoods (SPAN) project will receive a $1 million gift from The Coca Cola Foundation. SPAN is a new initiative of Emory’s Office of University-Community Partnerships, which was created eight years ago to integrate the University’s teaching, research and service missions to strengthen Atlanta-area communities.

SPAN was designed to target preservation of natural resources, environmentally conscious land use and housing development strategies, and air quality. The initiative connects students with real-world problem-solving throughout their Emory experience: starting with volunteer projects as soon as they arrive on campus, integrating community service activities into coursework, and ending with original scholarly research that addresses local issues.

The Coca-Cola Foundation gift will fund SPAN’s “Service for Learning” projects in which Emory student volunteers help preserve nature trails, create urban farms, and restore neighborhood parks, among other projects.

It also will support three other SPAN programs: Connecting Coursework to Community, which allows students to apply what they learn in subjects like environmental studies, public health and law to help communities reduce water pollution, develop green building strategies, or implement recycling and energy conservation measures; the intensive 12-month Community Building Fellows Program, in which students learn to bring together public, corporate and nonprofit partners to resolve serious problems such as loss of green space and worsening air pollution; and the Community Engaged Scholarship Program, which provides financial aid for undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research on local environmental problems for a thesis or dissertation.

The Coca-Cola Company has a strong history of making significant civic and financial contributions that have supported and strengthened Atlanta. Giving back locally has been the company’s priority and that tradition of community support continues today through the city’s universities, civic and nonprofit institutions and its public spaces.