Yum! Brands employs large numbers of teens and young adults in our restaurants, giving us both a unique understanding of and opportunity to address the needs of young people. Through our youth education efforts, we aim to equip youth with the resources to pursue their educational and professional aspirations.
Youth education is the Taco Bell Foundation’s singular focus. Its hallmark program is the Live Más Scholarship, established in 2015. The program is designed to support young innovators, creators and dreamers — students with passion and drive who may not qualify for conventional academic or athletic scholarships. Students apply for the scholarship by submitting short videos telling the story of their life’s passions and chosen applicants receive funding ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to pursue their education.
Both Taco Bell restaurant employees and customers are eligible to apply, and the Taco Bell Foundation recently added a renewal program to allow students to reapply for funding to further their education. The Live Más Scholarship not only helps fund educational dreams, but also creates practical mentoring opportunities outside the classroom. Scholarship recipients have learned from some of the best in their aspired industries, working behind the scenes with Taco Bell’s renowned social media and marketing teams at the MTV Video Music Awards, NBA All-Star Skills Challenge and Feed the Beat™ showcase in Austin, Texas.
In 2017, Taco Bell enlisted the first class of Live Más Scholarship recipients to help engage and support the next. Through the Feed a Dream promotion, for a limited time, every Doritos® Locos Taco™ sold in Taco Bell restaurants raised 10 cents for the Live Más Scholarship. To develop the campaign, scholarship recipients took part in a creative workshop in Chicago, where they worked side-by-side with veteran advertising and marketing creatives to formulate the campaign’s ad concept and script. Students were involved in the filming of the commercial in California, performing key jobs ranging from behind-the-scenes strategizing and set development to starring roles. They also created three taco packaging designs for use during the promotion.
This was more than a fundraiser, just as the Live Más Scholarship is more than financial support. By connecting recipients to a community of like-minded peers and professionals and providing real-world opportunities to practice their craft, Taco Bell and the Taco Bell Foundation are giving students and employees the chance to turn their dream jobs into reality.
Taco Bell Foundation’s other activities have a similar focus of helping young people pursue career and educational pathways through financial literacy resources, mentorship and job skill experiences, college readiness programming, creative and social innovation experiences and direct financial assistance. Grantees may apply for funding by invitation only. The Foundation’s current partners include Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City Year AmeriCorps, Junior Achievement® and Moneythink.
Pizza Hut, along with Taco Bell, is a member of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which engages young people age 16 to 24 who face systemic barriers to jobs and education in apprenticeships, internships, training programs and employment. Employers in the coalition agree to share best practices with others and learn from leading experts and research how to connect with this untapped population.
In line with this commitment, Pizza Hut recently hosted a group of high school juniors from Uplift Education for a career immersion day at its corporate headquarters. Employees across Pizza Hut guided scholars through various parts of the business, where they learned firsthand about the wide array of careers within the company. The students took part in career panels, an office tour, a pizza lunch and hands-on sessions with Pizza Hut employees.