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September 18, 2012 at 08:00 AM EDT
The Coca-Cola Company and Retail Partners Award $300,000 To the Hispanic Scholarship Fund During Hispanic Heritage Month

The Coca-Cola Company today announced a campaign with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) awarding more than $300,000 in scholarships during Hispanic Heritage Month. The Destapa Su Futuro / Uncap Their Future initiative, working with participating retailers, will help HSF promote closing the Hispanic college attainment gap.

Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo and high school students celebrate the launch of the Coca-Cola an ...

Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo and high school students celebrate the launch of the Coca-Cola and Hispanic Scholarship Fund Destapa Su Futuro campaign, awarding $300,000 in scholarships during Hispanic Heritage Month. (Photo: Business Wire)

“We have enjoyed an extraordinary relationship with HSF for more than 30 years and are committed to help them meet their goal of having a college degree in every Latino household by 2025,” said Reinaldo Padua, AVP Hispanic Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. “Together, we want to motivate people to get involved and help make a difference.”

From now through Oct. 31, students who are 16 years of age or older can apply for a scholarship at www.hsf.net/cocacola by answering three thought-provoking essay questions. Students must reflect on how their heritage affects their career goals, the importance of education in their lives and their community service experiences.

“It’s an honor to be part of Destapa Su Futuro and inspire Latinos to achieve success through education,” said Henry Cejudo, US Olympic wrestling gold medalist and campaign spokesperson. “By pursuing my own college degree and supporting this initiative along with Coca-Cola and HSF, I hope to encourage young Latinos to make education their priority.”

As part of Destapa Su Futuro consumers can visit participating retailers to learn more about how to apply for scholarships in their area. To learn more about Coca-Cola and HSF, visit www.mycokerewards.com/education. This page will also link through to the scholarship application page.

“The dramatic growth of the Hispanic population in the U.S. creates new challenges in providing access to education, given the community’s fragmentation, cultural differences and language barriers,” said Frank Alvarez, HSF President and CEO. “In partnership with Coca-Cola, we want to ease the process for Hispanics to have the opportunity to obtain higher education. Over the last 37 years, more than 50,000 deserving Latino students have been awarded HSF scholarships, many of them the first in their families to go to college. The Destapa Su Futuro campaign will help open the door for countless students to earn a college degree.”

Participating retailers include:

  • Selected Publix Super Markets stores in the South Florida region
  • Tony's Finer Foods in Illinois
  • Kum & Go LC in Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana
  • Greater Houston Retailers Association (GHRA) in Houston, Texas
  • Atlanta Retailers Association (ARA) in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Stop & Shop Supermarkets throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire
  • Key retailers in the West, such as Superior Grocers, Gonzalez Northgate Markets, El Super, Vallarta Supermarkets and Cardenas Markets

“Our retail partners are committed to helping Latino students in their communities and are helping fund this initiative as well as raising awareness of the importance of a higher education among Latinos,” continued Padua, “We hope that this initiative continues to inspire others to support this worthy cause.”

For more information, please visit www.mycokerewards.com/education and www.hsf.net/cocacola.

About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world's most valuable brand, our Company's portfolio features 15 billion dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.8 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system employees. For more information, please visit www.thecoca-colacompany.com or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo.

About the Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Founded in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund believes that the country prospers when all Americans have access to the opportunities a college education can afford. As the nation’s leading Hispanic higher education fund, HSF works to address the barriers that keep many Latinos from earning a college degree. To date, HSF has awarded over $360 million in scholarships and has supported a broad range of outreach and education programs to help students and their families navigate collegiate life, from gaining admission and securing financial aid to finding employment after graduation. HSF envisions a future where every Latino household will have at least one college graduate, creating an enduring impact on the college outlook of Latino families nationwide, and strengthening the American economy for generations to come. For more information about the Hispanic Scholarship Fund please visit: www.HSF.net.

Latino Education Fact Sheet

  • Latinos represent nine percent of all undergraduate students enrolled in higher education. Close to 60 percent of Latino college enrollment is in two-year colleges.
  • Only 19 percent of Latinos hold either a 2-year or 4-year college degree. That’s half the 40 percent rate for the total U.S. population.
  • “While close to 70 percent of high school graduates in the United States enroll in college within two years, only 57 percent graduate within six years. For low-income and minority students, the completion rate is closer to 45 percent. Students from high-income families are almost eight times as likely as their low-income peers to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 24.” 1
  • “Graduation rates for different groups of students differ significantly. Only 49 percent of Latinos who start college hold bachelor’s degrees six years later.”2
  • “73 percent of entering community college students aspire to a four-year college degree. However, fewer than half of community college students (45 percent) meet their goal within six years after beginning college.” 3
  • Research conducted by Nielsen in collaboration with NORC at the University of Chicago, and shared with HSF by Nielson, finds that Hispanic parents overwhelmingly support college attendance as the best option for their child – 94 percent responded that they expect their child to go to college, and roughly 80 percent believed that college was the most important goal for their child to have right after high school. However, from analysis of U.S. Census data in 2008, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates the undergraduate enrollment rate for college-age Latinos at only 28 percent.

Bio

Henry Cejudo, Olympic Gold Medalist

Henry Cejudo, the youngest of six children, was born in Los Angeles, California. Motivated by the hardships of his childhood, Henry immersed himself in school and athletics. Henry's brother Angel introduced him to the sport of wrestling. From the beginning, he was determined to prove himself to the world. Driven by desire, Henry was focused on winning the World and Olympic championships.

While attending the freestyle program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, Henry completed his education at Coronado High School in Colorado Springs. Henry added two more state wrestling championships to his record, and graduated with a combined record of 120-3. Henry participated in two Junior World Championships, placing fifth in 2005, and second in 2006. Henry also went on to receive the prestigious ASICS National High School Wrestler of the Year award in 2006. That same year, he became the first high school student to win the U.S. Nationals since the formation of USA Wrestling's national body in 1983.

Upon graduation, Henry took the bold and highly unusual road to the Olympic gold, foregoing the customary route of a collegiate wrestling program. Henry began training full time at the Olympic Training Center to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games. He then went on to represent the U.S.A. in the Beijing Olympics, and brought home the gold. Henry not only achieved his dream of becoming an Olympic champion, he made history by becoming the youngest American wrestler to ever win an Olympic gold medal.

Since retiring from the sport in 2012, Cejudo plans to pursue a college degree at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ.

1 Winning the Future. U.S. Department of Education.

2 Big Gaps, Small Gaps: Some Colleges and Universities Do Better than Others in Graduating Hispanic Students. Education Trust.

3 Promising Practices for Community College Student Success. Center for Community College Student Engagement

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50411504&lang=en

Contacts:

The Coca-Cola Company
Melina Baetti, 404-272-9211
mbaetti@coca-cola.com
or
Jorge Ortega, 305-532-7950
Jorge.ortega@newlink-group.com
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