Tyrese Gibson joins Coca-Cola to support teens’ quest for academic achievement


Six time Grammy-nominated R&B singer, author, philanthropist and internationally renowned film star Tyrese Gibson joins Coca-Cola to help inspire and empower teens to strive for their highest potential through the 2016 Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program.

Building on the program’s five years of success, the Company will now offer up to 25 students a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship and a trip to the second annual Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy. Now through March 31, parents, relatives, friends and mentors may nominate an aspiring teen for the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program by visiting www.coke.com/payitforward.

“I have long recognized the importance of helping young people reach out to grab their dreams,” said Gibson. “Returning to Coca-Cola, the place where I got my start, brings my story full circle and offers me another opportunity to help inspire, motivate and give back to our youth. Because it’s not lonely at the top if you help someone else get there.”

Gibson’s foundation recently awarded a $50,000 scholarship to a Compton teen to assist with his pursuit of higher education. His foundation, #TheLoveCircle, focuses on empowering youth.

“The Coca-Cola Company has had a long relationship with Tyrese and he’s a part of our family,” said Racquel Harris Mason, vice president, Coca-Cola and Coke Zero brands, Coca-Cola North America. “His support of education and passion for mentoring truly reflect the goals of the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program and we’re honored to partner with him as we work to empower the next generation.”

The Coca-Cola Company invites all communities to help teens achieve their aspirations by nominating an eligible teen for the 2016 Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program; becoming a mentor; and/or donating to an academic scholarship. Share ways you are paying it forward and join the discussion on Twitter, using #CokePayItForward.

The Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program is open to high school students, grades 9-12 (nominees must be 13 by June 3), and the moms/guardians who love and support their academic and philanthropic endeavors. Nominators must be 13 years of age or older. Eligible high school teens may also nominate themselves. Potential winners will be selected and notified on or around June 20, 2016. Each winning student will receive a $5,000 scholarship to assist with his/her pursuit of higher education and a three-day trip to the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy. Nominations must be received by March 31, 2016.

In 2015, the Academy’s inaugural program hosted 22 teens and their moms/guardians. Attendees spent a jam-packed weekend in mentoring and Q&A sessions with notables such as Big Tigger and Judge Glenda Hatchett. The students also participated in breakout workshops on such topics as the importance of a personal brand, how to prepare for higher education and ways to manage finances.

Some of last year’s winners will be featured in the 2016 Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program marketing materials and on www.coke.com/payitforward to help give encouragement and advice to potential new nominees.