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PepsiCo Foundation & Bluebird Award $100k Grant To Rising Foundation To Bolster Secondary Students' Employment Pathways

Wiri-based snack food manufacturer, Bluebird, with funding from the PepsiCo Foundation, has awarded a grant of $100,000 to South Auckland charity, The Rising Foundation, to help young adults get the most out of their secondary education.

The grant is the PepsiCo Foundation’s first investment into a New Zealand community partner, reflecting Bluebird’s commitment to its Rautaki Māori, a strategy of developing economic resilience in the communities it operates in and serves, and ensuring employees across all ethnic groups have equitable opportunities for development and growth.

The funds will allow The Rising Foundation to imbed a full-time programme coordinator and mentor at Papakura High School on a permanent basis, to provide practical, emotional, and cultural support for up to 70 year 9-13 students across the 2024 academic year.

“We believe that Bluebird has a responsibility to support and strengthen the skills of the young people in our local communities,” says Tanya McFarlane, Senior Human Resources Manager of PepsiCo New Zealand.

“This investment will help to unlock potential and will provide students who come from challenging backgrounds with the motivation, support and confidence they need to stay in school and create a better future for themselves,” says McFarlane.

The Rising Foundation’s Core Programme encourages greater participation in school life by providing a safe space where students can connect, hang out, grow, and learn to be their best selves. The students attend weekly meetings to learn and discuss the term’s theme, such as purpose, honesty, and identity, as well as having access to individual career preparation, support to get a driver’s licence, and immersive camp experiences.

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“The adolescent years contain some of the most volatile and decisive moments in our lives,” says General Manager of The Rising Foundation, Alex Tarrant.

“Imagine if all young people could enter adult life with a clear understanding of who they are, how to live, and where they are heading. We have seen firsthand how a sustained programme of support can positively change the life trajectories of young people,” continues Tarrant.

“We are so grateful that Bluebird see’s the value in the work that we do and look forward to continuing this partnership in the future.”

As well as the grant, Bluebird is committed to extending the partnership by planning career days for students involved with the programme, offering mentoring opportunities with local Bluebird staff, and having staff volunteers attend The Rising Foundation camps.

“The PepsiCo Foundation is committed to feeding the potential of youth in our communities and we believe that education is the pathway to prosperity,” said C.D. Glin, President of the PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Social Impact for PepsiCo.

“We hope this partnership with The Rising Foundation inspires students in New Zealand to stay in school and take steps on the pathway towards a prosperous future.”

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