8th June 2022. Popular TV presenter Brian Dowling and husband, DWTS judge Arthur Gourounlian, visited Boomerang Youth Café in Drogheda to launch the 2022 Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund. The well-known couple joined the former Fund recipients to find out how their grant share will impact young people in the local area, encouraging community leaders to apply for funding at www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou.
Now in its twelfth year, the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund is this year focused on investing in sustainable communities to enable everyone to live in a community where economic and environmental sustainability as well as social equity is at its heart. With grants totalling €100,000 now available to charities, community groups and non-profit organisations across the island of Ireland, committed to nurturing a generation of change champions who will help to shape, create and maintain sustainable communities for the benefit of all.
Advocates for the importance of self-confidence and resilience, the creative duo showed their support for the hardworking youth leaders at Boomerang Youth Café, which last year received a Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund grant for the development of a skills-based learning programme.
Having grown up in a small village in Co. Kildare, Brian has seen first-hand the influence local community programmes can have on the future of young people, while husband and world-renowned choreographer Arthur had his own experience as a 12-year-old refugee, having escaped the war in his hometown of Armenia.
Commenting on the importance of this year’s Coca-Coca Thank You Fund, Brian said: “As the eldest of seven, I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility for my six sisters, and in more recent years for all our nieces and nephews.
“The grants made available through the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund are safeguarding programmes like this one here in Drogheda, that are providing access to education, encouraging diversity and inclusivity in all our communities and empowering young people to take a more active role in caring for the environment, so if you’re a community leader with an idea that needs funding to get it off the ground, I really would encourage you to apply.”
Now in its twelfth year, Agnese Filippi, Country Manager, Coca‑Cola Ireland went on to say; “Life skills, good values and positive routines are passed down from generation to generation, but with so many young people isolated from their network in recent years, through the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund we’re seeking to invest in youth orientated organisations across the island of Ireland that are supporting the next generation of change champions.
“It’s never been more important to empower our young people with the dispositions and skills they need to take a more active role in the creation of sustainable communities, so we’re delighted to be in a position to once again this year fund programmes and projects that are committed and aligned to this mission across the island of Ireland.
“Since 2011 we’ve donated over €1.2 million to 120 charities, community groups and non-profit organisations and with the help of our fantastic Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund launch ambassadors Brian and Arthur and the continued support of our long-standing partners, Irish Youth Foundation and YouthAction Northern Ireland, we hope to inspire local leaders seeking funding to apply.”
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; “As we look to the future, we also look to an entirely new tool kit of skills that our young people need in order to navigate it. With the increased demand on services, the innovative approach of local leaders at the heart of their communities is making vital support services more accessible, but also helping to breakdown those barriers of engagement that we’ve seen as a result of the pandemic.
“With a shared commitment to improving the future for young people, we’re delighted to once again be part of this year’s Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund, and part of a solution that will see €100K in funding directly invested in the development of sustainable communities.”
Assessed under the categories of education, diversity and inclusion and caring for our environment, applications for funding can be submitted via www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou until midnight on Wednesday 20th July. Applicants are encouraged to visit the website to see full details of the conditions of entry.
Leaders of the shortlisted projects will once again 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.
Communities will also have the opportunity to vote for their favourite project from the shortlisted organisations as the ‘People’s Choice Award’ returns, with successful 2022 Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund recipients to be announced in the autumn.