Earlier this year, The Coca-Cola Co. USA invited 18 to 24-year-olds across the U.S. to submit their best ideas to strengthen their communities in the “Dear Future Community” Challenge. Today, the company announced 17 finalists from across the country who will have their ideas turned into reality. Each young adult will be partnered with community experts in their hometown and will be supported with funding from The Coca-Cola Co. USA.

As we started telling our company’s story more broadly to consumers last fall, we saw an opportunity to work with our local bottlers, associates and partners to go even deeper into the communities where we live and work and inspire great ideas that will help our hometowns thrive,” said Caren Pasquale Seckler, vice president, social commitment, Coca-Cola North America. “We wanted to write the next chapter of our story together with the young adults who have the energy, optimism and potential to be future leaders in these communities.”

The Coca-Cola Co. USA partnered with its family of independent bottlers and local community partners to identify issues that matter to communities across the country. In June, the company launched a national campaign asking young adults to share their best ideas for how to address those issues. Through social media and a nationwide tour, The Coca-Cola Co. USA started a dialogue on dozens of college campuses and community events, engaging directly with young change-makers. Nearly 1,000 inspiring ideas were submitted, ranging from protecting the environment, to expanding job opportunities and empowering female leaders.

Meet the challenge change-makers; their innovative ideas will soon come to life and help strengthen and renew their communities!

TUSCALOOSA, ALA.

MARUKA W.

AGE: 21

Idea Focus: Renew Opportunity – Developing the city's future leaders

 

ST. LOUIS

CHRISTIAN B.

AGE: 20

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

Idea Focus: Renew Community – Providing opportunities for disadvantaged youth

 

PORTLAND, ORE.

TYLER Z.

AGE: 19

GONZAGA UNIVERSITY

Idea Focus: Renew Community – Empowering next-generation community leaders

 

PHOENIX

JASON J.

AGE: 19

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Idea Focus: Renew Water – Supporting water conservation

 

SPRINGFIELD, MO.

ASHLEY C.

AGE: 21

MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY

Idea Focus: Renew Water – Reducing erosion near community waterways

 

ORLANDO, FLA.

TAYLOR H.

AGE: 20

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

Idea Focus: Renew Jobs – Exposing local youth to the jobs of the future

 

OAHU, HAWAII

GABRIELLE D.

AGE: 20

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

Idea Focus: Renew Water – Restoring the condition of shorelines

 

LOS ANGELES

ASHLEY F.

AGE: 19

Idea Focus: Renew Empowerment – Empowering and educating girls interested in public service

 

DENVER

SARAH S.

AGE: 19

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

Idea Focus: Renew Opportunity – Developing technology programs for high schoolers

 

DALLAS

JUSTIN Y.

AGE: 20

SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY

Idea Focus: Renew Jobs – Empowering and supporting student veterans

 

CHICAGO

ISABEL R.

AGE: 22

Idea Focus: Renew Opportunity – Creating a STEM mentorship program for youth

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

RICHARD J.

AGE: 21

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHARLOTTE

Idea Focus: Renew Opportunity – Working with young adults on skilled careers and workforce training

 

DES MOINES, IOWA

TRENT G.

AGE: 19

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

Idea Focus: Renew Community – Expanding technology training initiatives for students

 

BOSTON

EMILENY P.

AGE: 19

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AT BOSTON

Idea Focus: Renew Products – Educating and encouraging people to recycle correctly through community engagement and events

 

NEW YORK

SJ

AGE: 23

Idea Focus: Renew Opportunity – Providing youth with technology skills and technical training

 

CLEMSON, S.C.

BRIDGET C.

AGE: 20

CLEMSON UNIVERSITY

Idea Focus: Renew Products – Increasing student recycling efforts

 

WILBERFORCE, OHIO

ALEXXUS B.

AGE: 21

WILBERFORCE UNIVERSITY

Idea Focus: Renew Products – Launch a recycled products design lab

 

Each change-maker submitted a short essay to explain their idea and how it would impact their community. Local experts in each community will help refine the ideas to make the greatest impact and help guide our change-makers as they bring them to life.

A number of submissions in the Dear Future Community Challenge revolved around increasing recycling. Emileny P. from the University of Massachusetts – Boston will work with local community partner Save the Harbor/Save the Bay to provide recycling education to members of the community. Ideas such as these are crucial for The Coca-Cola Co. USA as it works to achieve a World Without Waste, by recovering and reusing the equivalent of 100 percent of products it sells by 2030.

Ashley C. from Missouri State University will work with Watershed Committee of the Ozarks to combat soil erosion by introducing native species of plants near streams and rivers to act as a barrier against the destructive power of wind and rain.

In Tuscaloosa, Ala., Maruka W. will work to provide leadership development for local high school students with local community partners The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and West Alabama Works.

Each of the 17 ideas will be funded by The Coca-Cola Co. USA with a $30,000 grant, and change-makers will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with local bottlers, leaders in their communities, and local Coca-Cola Scholars to turn their ideas into reality. Check back for updates as we follow the journey of these change-makers as they create a positive impact on their communities!