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Coca-Cola Commits $1 Billion To Comprehensive Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Program

Published 05-16-00

Submitted by Coca-Cola Company, The

Doug Daft, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, today made a five-year $1 billion commitment to diversity in a comprehensive empowerment and entrepreneurship program for the U.S.

"This is a logical extension of our ‘think local, act local’ strategy and our desire to become a model citizen in the communities we serve," said Daft. "To do that, The Coca-Cola Company must continue to strengthen local economies through the way we invest, the way we allocate our procurement dollars, the partners we choose to help us market and distribute our brands, and the way we build our system."

"This Company was built on a tradition of shared success. I commissioned a disciplined and rigorous inventory of our operations to determine where we could do more to extend that tradition. ‘Everyone who touches Coca-Cola should benefit’ was one of this Company’s early business principles. This program reflects the results of that recently completed review to help us take that principle into the 21st century."

The program announced today includes:

Increased spending with minority- and women-owned businesses and a commitment to foster a climate of entrepreneurial opportunity through targeted minority supplier identification and a new supplier mentoring program;

Increased Company investments in local economies through urban economic partnerships, including a 50-community expansion of the Urban Customer Partner program and increased marketing investments to strengthen local retailers and entrepreneurs;

Increased opportunities for minority financial institutions and businesses through the Company’s financial strategies and investments;

Creation of a task force headed by Jack Stahl, president and COO, to determine by first quarter 2001 specific opportunities for minorities for equity and ownership in the Coca-Cola value chain;

Increased community contributions and support for organizations focused on education, mentoring, economic opportunity and neighborhood revitalization.

"The impact of the Coca-Cola system on local economies around the world through the development of entrepreneurs and local businesses is well-documented, and programs like the ones we are expanding today are one reason," said Carl Ware, executive vice president, Global Public Affairs and Administration. "Through them, we equip talented individuals with the skills to lead, work with our neighbors to build strong communities and foster a climate of entrepreneurial opportunity for minority and women-owned companies to succeed."

Specific initiatives for each commitment announced today were:

1) Minority Supplier Commitments

Foster a climate of entrepreneurial opportunity through targeted minority supplier identification and a new supplier mentoring program.

Spending with minority- and women-owned businesses will increase more than 50% to an average of $160 million per year over the next five years.

The Company announced it has signed a letter of intent with Carolyn Hogan Baldwin, president of Coca-Cola Financial Corporation, to establish a separate company to manage the processing and servicing of loans and leases granted by CCFC and other financial institutions. Ms. Baldwin will become chairman and CEO of the new company, Global Tech Financial, LLC. CCFC currently has more than 6,000 loans and leases and a portfolio of approximately $1 billion.

The spin-off and alliance are part of the Company’s commitment to enhance and grow its supplier relationships with minority and women-owned companies.

Beginning immediately, the Company will institute a multi-year program to identify and mentor key minority and women-owned suppliers within the local communities the Company serves. In addition to the purchase of goods and services, Coca-Cola resources will be available to these key suppliers to provide mentoring to support their competitiveness and growth in the national and international marketplace.

In addition, the Company will double its investments in the National Minority Supplier Development Council Business Consortium Fund from $500,000 to $1 million.

2) Urban Economic Partnerships

A commitment to strengthen local economies through urban economic partnerships and increased marketing investments with local retailers and entrepreneurs.

The Company announced that it will increase the number of communities in its Urban Customer Partnerships Program. Thirteen communities now participate in this program, which creates jobs and training benefits for the community and builds entrepreneurial skills for retailers. The Company began this program in Harlem in 1998 with its largest U.S. bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises. The Company’s commitment to 50 new communities over five years will include a total investment of approximately $50 million.

In addition, the Company will enhance its support for community cultural celebrations, which strengthen local economies. It announced today it had increased its support as a lead sponsor of Festival LA, a two-week celebration of Latino Heritage Month.

3) Opportunities for Minority Financial Institutions

Strengthen entrepreneurs and local economies through financial strategies and investments.

The Company announced that the trustees of its employee pension fund recently doubled the portion of the fund managed by minority- and women-owned investment firms from $56 million to $115 million.

In addition, the Company announced it will:

Double the value of insurance coverage through minority- and women-owned firms other than its standing insurance policy (which is under contract until 2002);

Tap minority- and women-owned investment firms to participate in underwriting 15 percent of The Coca-Cola Company’s future domestic debt issuances;

Enhance and expand its current relationships and programs with minority banking institutions.

4) Task Force to Review Value Chain

A task force chaired by Jack Stahl to work with the bottling system to review the total value chain, identify opportunities, and make a joint determination on minority participation. The task force will report to Doug Daft by the first quarter of 2001.

5) Increased Community Contributions and Support

Over the next five years, the Company will dedicate $50 million to its support of and partnerships with non-profit organizations focused on:

Scholarships which provide educational access and opportunity for minority youth;

Youth development mentoring programs;

Community advocacy organizations which champion educational, social and economic opportunities for all people, and;

Community programs, specific to our hometown, that are involved in neighborhood revitalization and social service support.

The Company announced today it will:

Establish and fund a new scholarship and internship program in marketing and finance to be administered through selected historically black colleges and universities.

Double its commitment over five years to the Coca-Cola/Hispanic Scholarship Fund Advancing to Universities Program. This program provides awards to Talented Hispanic Americans to encourage them to make the transition from community colleges to four-year institutions.

Expand Coca-Cola Valued Youth, a mentoring program for at-risk youth recognized for its outstanding results. The program will be expanded into eight new communities in 2000, bringing the total to 23 cities in the U.S. and 47 worldwide. It is part of the Coca-Cola Keeping Kids in School initiative.

Expand the scope of its support programs for Asian-American associations, including support for the National Korean American Grocers Association scholarship program.

Expand support for the American Indian College Fund.

Daft named James Chestnut to the operational oversight of the overall program. Chestnut, executive vice president, Operations Support, will make regular progress reports to Daft and Stahl.

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Coca-Cola Company, The

Coca-Cola Company, The

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company markets four of the world's top five nonalcoholic sparkling brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite, and a wide range of other beverages, including diet and light beverages, waters, juices and juice drinks, teas, coffees, energy and sports drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate exceeding 1.4 billion servings each day. For more information about The Coca-Cola Company, please visit our website at

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