17th May 2021 Celebrated Irish jockey and history maker, Rachael Blackmore, was at Dublin City Farm and Ecology Centre in St Anne’s Park today to launch the 2021 Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund. Fresh off the furlongs of her Grand National win, the world’s first ever female jockey to win the race joined some former fund recipients to encourage community leaders to apply for funding at www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou.
Now in its eleventh year, the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund will continue to support young people disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Grants totalling €100,000 will be available to youth-orientated non-profit groups across the island of Ireland committed to protecting the future of a post pandemic generation.
Having grown-up on a farm in her hometown of Killenaule, Co Tipperary, the daughter of a dairy farmer and a teacher, Rachael spent most of her time surrounded by animals and riding ponies and horses. She credits her celebrated discipline, resilience and empathy as soft skills forged during these early years.
Visiting the community run farm in North Dublin, which last year received €5,000 in Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund grant for the development of a skills-based learning programme, the 31-year-old role-model commented: “I’m very fortunate to compete in a sport where men and women are given equal opportunities and compete on a level playing field. My hometown and local community have played a big part in helping me the person I am today, and their support is very important to me.”
“Growing up on a farm helped to prepare me for the professional environment I find myself in today, so to see local initiatives like this one at Dublin City Farm made possible because of the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund is fantastic!
“As a jockey, winning races is a combined effort shared with the entire team and the horse of course! For young people in communities right across Ireland right now, those wins are going to be decided by the people you surround yourself with and the projects you immerse yourself in. The grants available through the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund are empowering local champions to establish very real networks of support that will have a lasting impact, so if you are a community leader with an idea to help young people get back in the race and develop the skills they need for the future, I would encourage you to check it out!”
Commenting on the launch of the 2021 Fund Agnese Filippi, Country Manager, Coca‑Cola Ireland, said; “Last year we reimagined the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund in response to COVID-19, with our support focused on those most at risk from the immediate challenges of the crisis.
“The Fund was established to help marginalised young people and this year we’re looking to their future, working with our colleagues in Coca‑Cola Hellenic Bottling company to fund programmes and projects that are committed to building societal resilience across the island of Ireland.
“2020, was a milestone year for the Fund as we marked its ten-year anniversary having donated over €1 million to more than 100 non-profit organisations over that time. While we are incredibly proud of this legacy, as a business – along with our partners in Coca‑Cola HBC, we are consciously working to expand our network of supports for young people.
“With the help of our wonderful ambassador Rachael Blackmore and the continued support of our long-standing partners, Irish Youth Foundation and YouthAction Northern Ireland, we hope to inspire local leaders seeking funding for initiatives that will help young people ‘Build for Better’ to apply to the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund and help drive some really positive change in their local communities.”
Operated in partnership with YouthAction Northern Ireland and supporting partner Irish Youth Foundation (IYF), Lucy Masterson, Chief Executive of the Irish Youth Foundation closed by saying; “The term frontline is one we’ve all become very familiar with over the past 12months and a position those working with young people in Ireland have found themselves in as the sector continues to be disproportionally impacted by the insurmountable challenges of COVID-19.
“The Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund is a trusted Fund committed to supporting the future of young people in Ireland, so we’re delighted to once again be part of the programme and driving the focus on skills-based initiatives that will change someone’s tomorrow for the better. If you’re a community leader, a charity coordinator or just an active citizen with an idea that you think will help support the future of young people in your local area the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund is worth checking out. Even the smallest seed can plant a field of change!”
Assessed under the categories of education and training, diversity, and inclusion in young people and those that take an innovative approach to demonstrating sustainability, applications for funding can be submitted via www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou until midnight 16th of July. Please also visit the site to see full details of the conditions of entry.
Leaders of the shortlisted projects will be invited to attend a special skills and networking workshop empowering them with top tips on how to pitch their project and apply for funding, before presenting their ideas to a panel of judges in September.
This year will also see a return of the ‘People’s Choice Award,’ with members of the public invited to vote for their favourite project among the final shortlisted organisations, with successful 2021 Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund recipients to be announced in the autumn.
Notes to the Editor:
Accompanying photography will be issued today by Naoise Culhane Photography and is also available from Nicole@q4pr.ie
About the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund:
Now in its 11th year, the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund was set up in 2011 to mark the 125th anniversary of the company.
This year Coca- Cola is taking a systems approach to supporting young people.
The Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund is one of a number of initiatives that the Coca‑Cola Company is championing, together with its bottling partner Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland, to support young people across the island of Ireland. Youth Empowered is another programme delivered by the Coca‑Cola System which is designed to equip young people with the tools and skills they need to build a better future for themselves. Through these initiatives, and its partnerships with Irish Youth Foundation and Youth Action NI, Coca‑Cola wants to inspire young people to build better communities and develop the skills they need to succeed in a post pandemic environment.
Over the years, the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund has supported projects including community, social and education programmes aimed at youth, healthy and active lifestyles and environmental leadership. To date €1,155,000 has been given to 108 non-profit organisations across the island of Ireland.
In 2021, Coca‑Cola will donate a further €100,000 to youth-orientated non-profit groups committed to supporting young people develop the skills they need to succeed in a post pandemic environment.
For the purposes of the Fund, young people are defined as those aged between 16 and 25 years of age.
What is this year’s theme?
In 2021, the Fund will focus on one overall theme – Building for Better. A recognised and trusted Fund supporting the future of young people across the island of Ireland.
Within this theme, the Fund is seeking applications which fall under one or more of the following three categories:
Applications for funding can be submitted via www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou until midnight 16th of July. Full details of entry are also available at this website.
How will the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund be allocated in 2021?
In 2021, Coca‑Cola will award grants totalling €100,000 to non-profit organisations. The Fund judging panel will determine the division of the funding.
The Fund’s application form facilitates entrants in selecting which funding amount is most suitable for their project - €5,000 or €10,000.
The judges will take this preference on board in their consultations but in some case the funding awarded may be higher or lower than that requested.
This year applicants will be invited to submit a submit a 50-word summary of their project. The 20 shortlisted organisations will be posted on Coca‑Cola.ie with the return of the ‘The People’s Choice Award’.
This award will be voted on by the public and the winning organisation will receive funding for their project from the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund. Votes will be managed through www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou, which also sets out full details of entry conditions.
About Dublin City Farm and Ecology Centre (Host Location):
Dublin City Farm and Ecology Centre is a volunteer- based, community city run farm in North Dublin that encourages youth participation and has provided a safe, relaxed environment for young people during the pandemic. In 2020, they received €5,000 from the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund funding for a skills-based, sustainability projects on the farm that aimed to empower and educate their volunteer team – recruiting vulnerable young people from the community to get involved.