PepsiCo Announces $175,000 In Additional Funding To Local Nonprofits Aimed To Increase Access To High-Quality Careers Among 3,000 Youth In Chicago's South And West Sides

CHICAGO, Dec. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- PepsiCo today announced $175,000 in additional grants to the next round of community partners as part of the Pathways to Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP). The announcement of the second round of grants reinforces PepsiCo's commitment to sustainable investment in the future of Chicago and in high-quality careers and new opportunities for the city's youth. Launched in October 2021 and co-designed with Chicago community leaders, PREP is PepsiCo's $5 million initiative to empower and increase access to high-quality careers among nearly 3,000 Black and Hispanic young people in Chicago's South and West Sides.

PREP's newest community partners in action include Girls in the Game, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, Step Up and Teamwork Englewood.

The adverse impacts of COVID-19 are disproportionately impacting young people of color and Black and Hispanic youth were 2.2 and 1.8 times more likely, respectively, to report experiencing racial discrimination compared to white youth within the world of work according to The Yes Project's The State of Youth Employment 2021 Report. As an employer of nearly 5,000 neighbors in the Chicagoland area, PepsiCo is working to build a pipeline of talent from historically underinvested communities through career exposure, paid mentorship and credentialing and hiring efforts. As part of that, PREP's second round of grantees includes:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Chicago: Continuing a 11-year collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters, PepsiCo will support experience-based career explorations and outings for mentees living on the South and West Sides, providing opportunities to discuss career options and goal setting through structured programming and organic conversations.
  • Step Up: PepsiCo will continue its support of Step Up with funding that creates career readiness activities and hands-on professional experiences with PepsiCo employees.
  • Teamwork Englewood: PepsiCo's support will build capacity for in-demand job readiness tools in Teamwork Englewood's existing youth programs, including career exposure and paid internship activities.
  • Girls in the Game: PepsiCo is proud to continue a 13-year partnership with Girls in the Game to support their After School Middle School and Teen programs. Enhanced programming will include Leader-to-Leader Interviews, professional and career exposure programming, and PepsiCo employee volunteer opportunities with girls-led community service activities.

"Girls in the Game's partnership with PepsiCo is our longest-standing partnership," said Meghan Morgan, Executive Director of Girls in the Game. "It has endured because of PepsiCo's deep commitment to supporting Chicago communities that need it most and their desire to develop meaningful, impactful volunteer opportunities for their employees. Through their support of Girls in the Game's teen programs, more teens will be able to gain the valuable leadership opportunities they need to grow into strong, confident leaders who will make a difference in the world."

"PepsiCo is committed to stimulating long-term economic growth in our South and West Side communities," said Neil Pryor, President of PepsiCo Beverages North America, Central Division. "Our investment in career exposure, paid internships, credentialing and hiring is designed to support workforce readiness in underinvested neighborhoods by helping to build a pipeline of talent which one day, might bring their skills to our team."

PREP's initial programming was announced in October 2021 with leading community-based organizations Cubs Charities, Chicago Jesuit Academy, Imagine Englewood if, North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) and UCAN. Through the grant received in September, SWOP is currently developing a work readiness program through a leadership development lens that considers many of the needs and barriers of residents of the South Side of Chicago. The organization plans to serve 175 young people, connecting them to work readiness training, job placement, career pathway programs, and more.

PREP builds on the company's 120-year history and investment in Chicago. This program is an extension of PepsiCo's Racial Equality Journey, a more than $570 million set of commitments over five years to create opportunity and empower Black and Hispanic people in PepsiCo's workforce, business partnerships and communities.

About PepsiCo 
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, Tropicana, and SodaStream. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. "Winning with Purpose" reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of our business strategy and brands.  For more information, visit

About Girls in the Game
Since 1995, Girls in the Game, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, has emerged as a leading girls' health and fitness organization in Chicago. Girls in the Game has empowered more than 55,000 girls to make healthier choices and develop the confidence and leadership skills they need to succeed on and off the field. At Girls in the Game every girl finds her voice, discovers her strength, and leads with confidence through fun and active sports, health and leadership programs. We empower all girls to be gamechangers. For more information, visit

About Big Brothers Big Sisters Chicago
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago is an affiliate of the nation's largest donor-and volunteer-supported mentoring network. We provide high quality one-to-one mentoring services to over 2,200 children (ages 7-18) and their families across Cook, DuPage and Lake Counties in both Illinois and Indiana. Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully matches children, who we call "Littles", with positive volunteer mentors, who we call "Bigs." Throughout the course of their mentoring relationship, we monitor and support the match, providing safety and quality measures, as well as activity ideas and goals. Our programs are proven to keep kids in school, out of trouble and on the path to post-graduate success.

About Step Up
Step Up believes all girls should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams of success. By offering free mentorship programs, the nonprofit works with teens facing systemic barriers on becoming confident, career-focused, and ready to join the next generation of leaders. Connect at

About Teamwork Englewood
Teamwork Englewood was formed in 2003 to improve the quality of life of the residents and stakeholders of Englewood by facilitating economic, educational, and social opportunities. Its goal is to unite many organizations serving Englewood residents and work toward the common goal of the community. In addition to many services, Teamwork Englewood provides youth mentoring, leadership, and job training for youth throughout the Englewood community. Youth in Teamwork Englewood programming have access to enrichment, personal and professional development. Teamwork Englewood programming is rooted in a trauma informed lens and exposing young people to positive experiences they can use in their lives and in their future.

Jessica Ortiz
Rise Strategy Group
C: 312-550-0102


SOURCE PepsiCo, Inc.


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