Off To the Races!

Posted by Evan Mackinder on February 1, 2010

And we're off!

When we initially started planning for’s Pespsi Refresh initiative, we knew there would be a lot of work.  There was strategizing, coalition meetings, emails, blog posts, tweeting, facebooking, and a ton of outreach to our individual networks–And that was before we even found out that was accepted into the Pepsi Refresh contest!  But the good news came this morning, and all of our preparation seems to have paid off in a big way.  As of this post, I’m incredibly excited to report that is truly off to the races with a #6 ranking!

729 individuals and organizations ideas are in the running  for the month of Februrary, all vying for their share of $1.3 million in grants.  I haven’t had much time to take a look at many of the entries, but the number alone is encouraging: Lots of great ideas for social change will at the very least have a highly-trafficked platform from which to make themselves known.

ServeNext submitted an plan to put 10 community organizers in 10 cities during 2010–something we think is worth a $50,000 grant for the positive effect it will have on communities across the country. By our count, is up against 172 other ‘ideas’ in the $50k category.

But back to our network, and todays accomplishment.  When we started our outreach over the weekend, we knew our members, friends and families would all be excited about the initiative.  But the support we’ve had is even more wonderful than we expected.  Almost immediately we started getting emails with people pledging their support to vote for, and not as a one-off.  Many also signed up to be Campaign Captains, a level of support that promises daily votes in addition to recruiting 5-10 close friends and family members to throw  some love behind ServeNext as we tackle the Pepsi Refresh Project. (Special shout out to all AmeriCorps members and alums! Thanks!)  We never had a moment’s doubt that people would turn out for the cause, and you guys proved us right in a huge way today.  Congrats and thank you!

We’re off to a great start, and we hope to really build on the momentum we secured today by increasing our get-out-the-vote effort and promoting and our initiative.  We have a lot of great things planned that we hope will keep people excited, and maybe even draw in some people that hadn’t heard about us before.

Among those will be this blog.  As the lead on this campaign for ServeNext, I’ll be blogging as often as possible–every day?  hold me to it!–about all things ServeNext-in-Pepsi Refresh, including campaign updates, notes on our coalition partners, and, of course, all the support and news coming out of the service movement.

This blog has long been a forum in which service is paid high tribute.  And grant aside, much of the reason we have entered Pepsi Refresh is because the project really coheres with ServeNext’s larger goal: to help strengthen volunteerism in this country by promoting (and rewarding) hard work and good ideas.  Given that coherence, I would expect our involvement in the contest to really amplify those themes on BlogNext.

And to that end, we’ll need your comments, input, questions, etc.  Engagement is key, folks.  (If you have anything you’d like to address outside the forum, you can email me at

So get excited, and I’ll see you in the morning!

Onward and Upward,

Evan Mackinder


One Response to “Off To the Races!”

  1. […] Week One of our participation in the the Pepsi Refresh Project has been incredible.  Your support catapulted us into the Top 10 within 24 hours of the contest starting, and we’ve been climbing ever since.  We’ve held the #1 […]

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