Corporations usually give money to organizations in one of two ways: Corporate Sponsorship and Grant Funding. Because corporations get tax write-offs for the funding that they give, this money typically goes to nonprofit organizations that are doing work in their respective communities. These organizations do not have a profit incentive, and are set up specifically with the IRS as tax exempt. With this being the case, where does the small business fit in the corporate grant funding picture?
In my two decades of proposal writing for nonprofits and small businesses, I have only seen one corporation that has been willing to provide grant funding for small businesses. That organization is the Pepsi Corporation. Yes, the soft drink giant provides funding to for-profit entrepreneurs. Through their Pepsi Refresh Project, they provide $825,000 per month to those organizations that submit programs, projects or ideas that fall within their giving guidelines.
What are the Pepsi guidelines? They are pretty simple. The Pepsi corporation is funding amazing ideas that refresh the
world. They want you to dream it, submit it, get enough votes and they will help make it happen. Your idea must fall into one of their four categories, which include:
Arts & Music – Show the world why creative people rule
Education – Can include everything from afterschool programs to lunch menus
Communities – Make your community better for everyone
Pepsi Challenge – Every month Pepsi poses a different challenge question that you must give the solution for
You must submit your idea on their web site. They accept 1,000 applications per month. You must also get the most votes in your category. You must send people to your page on the Pepsi web site to vote. Your friends and others can also vote via texting.
The next question that most people have is, “how much money is awarded with these grants?” Pepsi gives grants in several dollar amounts: $5000, $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000. Every month they give away 10 grants at the $5000 level, 15 grants at the $10,000 and $25,000 levels, and 10 grants at the $50,000 level.
As you can imagine these grants are very competitive. Pepsi gets so many applications at the beginning of the month that their entry fills up in less than a minute, as I have experienced when submitting applications for my clients. While it is simple to come up with a program idea for your business, your community organization or yourself, it isn’t always easy to get that idea submitted on the website. You are able to apply as many times as you would like until your idea is accepted. Once your idea is accepted, then it’s up to you to do the marketing legwork to get the word out about voting for your idea. Sharing your ideas with your local church, community organizations, schools and other groups is a good idea.
Much success to you in getting corporate grant funding for your small business.