There is no shortage of crowdsourced ideas to clean up the Gulf oil disaster, but Pepsi is the first to step in with crowdsourced solutions to help the Gulf communities affected by BP's monumental blunder. The Do Good for the Gulf Initiative—an extension of Pepsi's Refresh Project campaign—will award $1.3 million in grants to projects that help Gulf residents.
Pepsi will accept submissions starting on July 12 for the initiative, which is offering multiple $5,000, $25,000, $50,000, and $250,000 grants to the projects that receive the largest number of votes from online visitors. Voting closes on July 16, or when Pepsi gets 1,000 submissions.
There are a number of requirements for potential ideas—most notably, they can't be related directly to environmental impact and clean-up efforts. Instead, projects have to impact local communities and be executable within a year. It's an important distinction, especially since other organizations (i.e. the X Prize Foundation) are already offering hefty amounts of cash for oil disaster engineering solutions.
Like the larger Refresh Project, The Do Good for the Gulf Initiative is a relatively cheap way for Pepsi to get some press while polishing their halo. And make no mistake, the Refresh Project has done plenty—since launching in January, the initiative has awarded $7 million in grants. But consumers who really want to make a difference might also consider ditching the energy-intensive bottled drinks (Aquafina water, anyone?) produced by PepsiCo.
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