Progress Report: GOOD and the Pepsi Refresh Project
Our mission at GOOD has always been to support and celebrate creative solutions to critical issues. This year, our partnership with the Pepsi Refresh Project has enabled us to take that support to the next level. We're working closely with the many folks who've been awarded funding through the Refresh Project—hundreds of people with great ideas to help their communities, ideas that will benefit thousands of lives. It's immensely inspiring work—we've seen dozens of schools and affordable homes refurbished, community gardens built, ballfields created—and we've been thrilled to partner with Pepsi, a company with the scale to create impact in neighborhoods nationwide.
The work has taken us across the country—there are Refresh ideas from every state—and although we have no influence over the voting, we've been gratified to see a few familiar faces among the winners. Take The Saint Bernard Project of New Orleans, for example, which we profile in the current issue of the magazine. Since the spring of 2006, founders Liz McCartney and Zak Rosenberg have used a simple yardstick to measure their success: the number of city residents who return to live in their homes. When the oil spill sent Gulf communities reeling once more, Liz and Zak submitted an idea to the Refresh Project—a job retraining program and mental health support system for unemployed fishermen—and as Fast Company noted, “the wisdom of the crowd” selected them for a $250,000 grant to make it happen.
We're on track for 5 million voters registered and over 70 million votes cast on the Refresh Project website in 2010—that's more votes than were cast for either candidate in the last presidential election. More than 250 projects have been funded so far, and over $10 million has already been directed to communities big and small nationwide. Through a special initiative, Pepsi just awarded 32 grants and $1.3 million to projects benefiting Gulf communities, and announced that they'll be taking the Refresh Project worldwide next year. This is why we do this work, and we're thrilled that the GOOD community continues to support the ideas reshaping our world for the better.