In the wake of the racial injustices and turmoil of 2020, companies around the world grappled with how to have difficult but genuine conversations with their workforce. Some left it at a company-wide sensitivity training, others made a solitary social media post. Some companies chose only to donate to select foundations, charging the foundation staff to do the real work. Then there is PepsiCo, which has a storied history of philanthropic efforts toward racial injustices and still chose to reevaluate, reconsider and modernize its policies internally and worldwide, launching its racial equality journey initiative in 2020.

Courtesy of PepsiCo

Led by CEO Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo’s journey to a worthwhile black initiative started at the most intimate levels of the company. He started by meeting with Black community leaders, as well as workers who were part of the MOSAIC employee resource group. Because it’s important to not catch the racial reckoning “wave,” where equality becomes a last season issue, Laguarta ensured longevity with a 5-year plan. More than $400 million has been set aside for efforts that include adding even more diversity to the PepsiCo workforce and guiding other companies to do the same.

HBCUs are a significant part of PepsiCo’s new initiative, including plans for recruitment at HBCUs and increasing partnerships and core schools. PepsiCo is also supporting an exciting series of events this Labor Day weekend, with the battle of two HBCUs on the field at the 2021 Carolinas Football Classic game presented by Pepsi! During the festivities, the Benedict College Tigers will play against  Allen University’s Yellow Jackets. There will be familiar faces at the HBCU Buzz Tailgate Takeover, with celebrities like Rocsi Diaz, Darren Brand, and Krystal Garner hosting and dj Jae Murphy. With bands being an integral part of the HBCU experience, the weekend will cap off with the “Fifth Quarter Battle,” a face off of  Benedict College’s Band of Distinction and Allen University’s Band of Gold. 

Learn more about PepsiCo’s $400 million, five-year strategy and overall social justice journey, and more