The program will provide $1 million each to the National Urban League and UnidosUS to help feed families and seniors, increase medical care and testing, expand access to government support and provide technology for remote education and work, with a portion of the funds focused on post-recovery relief. An additional $5 million will go to local nonprofit partners to provide support and services that meet the specific needs of Black and Latino communities, including:
- COVID-19 testing and screening
- Access to affordable nutrition
- Healthcare services
- Education, job training and business resources
- Economic and childcare assistance
- Family and senior housing
The PepsiCo Foundation is also providing a $100,000 grant to the Farmworkers Pandemic Relief Fund, providing critical emergency assistance to America's farmworkers who are supporting our food supply during the pandemic, many of whom are vulnerable.
"COVID-19 has once again put a spotlight on the deep-rooted health and economic disparities that have long faced communities of color," said Steven Williams, Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo Foods North America. "In response to this, we're helping to provide immediate relief and support long-term recovery for Black and Latino communities. But just as these inequities existed well before coronavirus, we will continue to do our part and be a partner to these communities in the months and years ahead."
PepsiCo's investment comes as unemployment and infection rates among Black and Latino communities continue to spike. Communities of color represent a higher percentage of total COVID-19 infections than they do the national population while the mortality rate for Black and Latino people combined is more than twice than their white counterparts. This disparity only worsens at the local level—in Milwaukee County, for example, Black populations account for 26% of the population but 70% of coronavirus deaths, and in the Bay Area, Latino residents make up 37% of COVID-19 cases but just 21% of the population. Additionally, the economic effects of COVID-19 are also falling unequally on these communities. In April, 16.7% of Black and 18.9% of Latino Americans were out of work, compared to a national rate of 14.7%. For workers of color, especially women, who account for a disproportionate number of "essential" service workers, plans to reopen pose a significant public health risk.
"Across the nation, the burden of COVID-19 is being disproportionately shouldered by Black and Latino communities that are facing higher rates of hospitalization, death and economic hardships," said Kirk Tanner, Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo Beverages North America. "That's why PepsiCo, our brands and our people have mobilized to offer our support. And we know a crisis of this scale requires a collective effort. We're calling on our partners and network to support the communities of color that we are proud to serve and where our teams live and work."
Support from PepsiCo is directed to 15 of the nation's hardest-hit metro areas that have high populations of Black and Latino residents and are among the cities where the company has strong ties and where many of its employees live and serve, specifically: Baltimore, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami-Dade, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York City, St. Louis and Washington D.C. Having invested in partnerships to support vulnerable communities across the U.S. for decades, PepsiCo's new initiative offers near-term public health assistance while also supporting long-term economic revival through employment and homeownership counseling as well as job fairs and employment connections.
Funds are going to local affiliates of UnidosUS and the National Urban League as well as directly to dozens of highly effective local nonprofit organizations, including $500,000 to each of the following:
- Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan to address mental health, food, hygiene, and healthcare inequity for African Americans;
- Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles Angeleno Campaign to distribute $1,000 cash cards for families experiencing extreme financial hardship; and
- Greater Washington Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to provide food, cash assistance, medical care and support for small female-led businesses.
PepsiCo has been a long-time supporter of both the National Urban League and UnidosUS (formerly known as National Council of La Raza) with over 35 years of partnership and partners with a range of minority-focused organizations to positively impact communities throughout the year and during times of crisis. Recognizing the entrenched inequity in the U.S., The PepsiCo Foundation has invested more than $16.5 million in programs that support people of color living in U.S. communities from 2018 into 2019, with investments focused on nutrition and health; education, job training skills development and business growth; job creation and talent development; and advancing equality.