PepsiCo made a generous donation of $25,000 to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for the community.

The donation will support DEI initiatives on campus and will provide valuable programming to the community such as the university’s second annual Juneteenth celebration on June 19, which will feature state Sen. Joyce Elliott as the keynote speaker.

June 19 is annually celebrated as Juneteenth, the oldest national commemoration of the end of slavery in the country. The holiday originates from June 19, 1865, the day the last slaves in the country were freed in Galveston, Texas, at the end of the Civil War. It was declared a federal holiday in 2021, and UA Little Rock held its first Juneteenth celebration last year featuring an historical reenactment by S. Juain Young & Artists United and a Black-owned food truck festival.

“We are so excited to receive support and funding from PepsiCo,” said Dr. Melvin Beavers, assistant professor and the chancellor’s DEI fellow. “The impact of their support will go a long way in helping us build a strong foundation for our work to make sure UA Little Rock is a place that fosters diversity, equity, inclusion, and most importantly belonging for all.”

The Little Rock PepsiCo leadership of Mike Williams, key account manager, Jesse Fox, general manager, and Brandon Pharr, senior sales manager, presented the donation to UA Little Rock May 31 in the Bailey Alumni Center.

“PepsiCo is honored to play such a significant role in the great work going on at UA Little Rock surrounding its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative through our ‘Stronger Together’ platform,” Williams said. “Community support of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives is crucial for every company, institution, and organization across America today.”

The donation is a part of Pepsi Stronger Together, an initiative to bring a positive impact to communities. The community-focused program leverages the expertise of Pepsi and its partners to facilitate conversations, bring people together, and create smiles in communities in need.

“Thank you to the PepsiCo team for being a great community partner in so many ways and certainly for your support of the crucial DEI initiatives taking place on campus,” said Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor of university advancement. “Together, we are shaping a future that celebrates diversity and fosters an environment of belonging. Thank you for standing with us in making a lasting impact on the lives of our students and the entire university community.”