ProfilesThe Coca-Cola Foundation

Scott Williamson, Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for Coca-Cola North America (MMC ’92), and Lori Billingsley, Vice President of Community Relations for Coca-Cola North America.

The Coca-Cola Foundation

One hundred and thirty years ago, John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia. His creation would lead not only to the formation of one of the most successful companies in the world but also to one of Georgia’s greatest supporters of higher education.

In 1984, The Coca-Cola Company founded its philanthropic arm, The Coca-Cola Foundation, and established education as its main priority. The foundation has since given more than $313 million to support educational programs, and its home state has been a major beneficiary of this generosity.

“Quite simply, we are proud to call Georgia home,” said Vice President of Community Relations for Coca-Cola North America, Lori Billingsley. “In fact, in many ways this state, its community, and its culture are as much a part of our secret formula as anything else.”

Most recently, The Coca-Cola Foundation continued its long-standing support of the University of Georgia by giving $1 million in additional funding to the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholars program. This gift will provide scholarships to 48 students who are the first in their families to attend college. Seeking advice on transitioning to college from siblings or parents may not be an option for these students, so the Scholars program also includes mentoring opportunities. These promising students are connected with each other, past scholarship recipients, and faculty and staff who can help them thrive on campus.

An invaluable partner to UGA, The Coca-Cola Foundation shares in the belief that education can have a ripple effect on communities. “What we’ve seen through this program,” said Billingsley, “is the realization of not just the students’ dreams—but those of their parents and grandparents as well.”

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