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University Place embracing Pepsi’s online contest; more funding nearly in hand

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on Jan. 31, 2011 at 2:24 pm with No Comments »
February 1, 2011 8:31 am

The New York Times published Sunday an in-depth look at the Pepsi Refresh Project, which has generated quite a bit of interest among organizations in University Place.

The story makes clear that PepsiCo is betting that spending more than $20 million on these grants through an experimental mixture of social media and community building will generate more brand exposure than buying air time on the Super Bowl for about the same amount.

“This was not a corporate philanthropy effort,” Shiv Singh, head of digital for PepsiCo Beverages America, told the Times. “This was using brand dollars with the belief that when you use these brand dollars to have consumers share ideas to change the world, the consumers will win, the brand will win, and the community will win. That was a big bet. No one has done it on this scale before.”

That bet has already paid dividends for University Place.

Last month, Playground by the Sound, which is raising money for a new playground on Chamber Creek Properties, won two grants totaling $30,000 grant from the monthly online contest.

The community has raised the stakes this month, organizing their effort under the name Refresh UP.

Playground by the Sound is again seeking two grants totaling $30.000 . The Pierce County Library Foundation is seeking $25,000 to help furnish the new University Place Library, scheduled to open Feb. 12. Both University Place Parks and Recreation and University Place Volunteer Center are seeking $5,000 for recreation program scholarships and needed funding, respectively.

The top 10 vote-getters in each funding category are eligible for funding. On the final day of voting, four of the five grant requests are in the top 10 in their respective category — with the recreation scholarships sitting at No. 11 in the $5,000 category.
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