Frito-Lay Boosts Its Southern Dallas Commitment With $1M Grant

The funding backs the expansion of Southern Dallas Thrives, which provides healthy meals, quality childcare, career opportunities, and college preparation.

Frito Lay Southern Dallas

PepsiCo’s Plano-based Frito-Lay North America has provided a $1 million grant through The PepsiCo Foundation to back the expansion of the Southern Dallas Thrives initiative, according to a statement.

Frito-Lay is a founding partner of Southern Dallas Thrives, an initiative created alongside United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and The PepsiCo Foundation, which was launched in October 2018.

The new funding brings PepsiCo’s total commitment to Southern Dallas to more than $3 million, according to a statement. The $1 million Pathways by PepsiCo grant is expected to focus on workforce readiness and development programming for women in Southern Dallas. 


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The PepsiCo Foundation committed funding to Social Venture Partners Dallas to invest in the Dallas Center for Arts and Technology (DCAT), a “first-of-its-kind program” for the state, according to a statement. It also establishes Frito-Lay as a founding partner in the DCAT program. The funding was committed in partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Frito-Lay, a founding partner in the program. 

It’s anticipated that DCAT will open in a permanent location in spring 2021 and that the location will bring a new resource to Southern Dallas to provide:

  • Free childcare for children up to five years of age
  • Immerse youth in the arts during after-school programming
  • Provide in-demand workforce training to adults, and more

DCAT will begin pilot programming and workforce training at the headquarters of For Oak Cliff in Southern Dallas starting next spring while the permanent location is being secured and future renovations completed.

“We are grateful for their contribution, which will enable a vital workforce development pipeline for adults, immersive after-school arts for high school youth and early-childhood education,” Social Venture Partners Dallas CEO Tony Fleo said in a statement. “We hope this multi-faceted resource will be supported by a coalition of corporate funders as it begins serving the community.”

PepsiCo offered some sobering statistics in its statement that back the need for programs such as Southern Dallas Thrives. In North Texas, children who aren’t kindergarten-ready are four times more likely to drop out of high school, eight out of ten eligible kids don’t receive summer meals, and more than 42,000 open mid-level jobs are available to Dallas-Ft. Worth residents, according to a statement.

Southern Dallas Thrives intends to address those needs by improving the quality of preschool education in Southern Dallas communities, providing families with nutritious meals, and preparing high school students with the career and college preparation they’ll need to succeed. That’s on top of providing unemployed or underemployed parents access to childcare and job skills training that they will need to enter and succeed in the workforce.

The Southern Dallas Thrives initiative committed $600,000 to early childhood education in its first year through a grant from The PepsiCo Foundation to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and plans to provide 1 million meals by 2022 via PepsiCo’s Food for Good program. 

Frito-Lay employees also devoted more than 3,000 volunteer hours in Southern Dallas agencies and schools, according to a statement.

“As we continue to support our neighbors in Southern Dallas, my greatest hope is that the community feels they have the resources they need to thrive—from childhood to entering the workforce,” Steven Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America, said in a statement.

Frito-Lay to sponsor South Oak Cliff High School resource center

Beyond its DCAT commitment, Frito-Lay will also sponsor the development of a resource center at the newly renovated South Oak Cliff High School, which opens in January. The company’s support will provide needed resources such as computers, food, and other items necessary to ensure students’ success.

One of Southern Dallas Thrives’ main goals is to help 85 percent of South Oak Cliff Collegiate Academy students be college or career-ready through South Oak Cliff High School. 

“Nearly one in three adults and nearly four in 10 children live in poverty in Southern Dallas,” Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, said in a statement. “In addition, the unemployment rate is more than triple that of the Dallas-Fort Worth average, and less than three out of 10 students graduating from high school are prepared for success in college and/or a career.”

Earlier this month, Frito-Lay celebrated the 10th anniversary of PepsiCo’s United Way Day of Caring. More than 1,500 PepsiCo and Frito-Lay associates completed a day-long volunteer effort at various United Way agencies—including supporting Southern Dallas Thrives—to total more than 7,500 volunteer hours.

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