Taco Bell Plans to Award $10M in Scholarships by 2022

The program not only helps fund education dreams, but creates practical mentoring opportunities outside the classroom.
The program not only helps fund education dreams, but creates practical mentoring opportunities outside the classroom.
Getty Images for Taco Bell

The Taco Bell Foundation announced a plan Wednesday to award $10 million in Live Más Scholarships by 2022. This plan is part of Taco Bell’s broader long-term commitment to support the education and professional dreams of its employees and aspiring youth in the communities where the brand does business. Since the scholarship first opened in 2015, the Taco Bell Foundation has awarded $2.8 million to its Live Más scholars and plans to award $1-2 million each year through 2022 to meet the $10 million goal.

The Live Más Scholarship program is designed to help innovators, creators and dreamers aged 16-24 pursue unique education and career passions that may not necessarily fit into the conventional “academic” or “athletic” scholarship categories. In the spirit of the scholarship, this week, Taco Bell partnered with some of its favorite innovators, creators and dreamers to unveil and celebrate its Year 2 winners through personalized announcements shared over social media.

Each of this year’s 170 recipients, who include 55 Taco Bell employees, received scholarships ranging from $5,000-$25,000, totaling $1.5 million in funding. They join Taco Bell Foundation’s 2016 class of 270 winners, who received $1.3 million total in scholarships.

“We’ve seen the incredible impact that the Live Más Scholarship has already had in its first two years, and we are thrilled to continue jump-starting careers, fueling passions and extending opportunities to even more young people,” says Brian Niccol, Chief Executive Officer at Taco Bell Corp. and Chairman of the Taco Bell Foundation. “Everything we do strives to be current, creative and with a cause and, as we continue to grow, I can’t think of a worthier cause than investing in the future success of our employees and the young people in our communities.”

The program not only helps fund education dreams, but creates practical mentoring opportunities outside the classroom. Over the last two years 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 VMAs, NBA All-Star Skills Challenge and the Feed the Beat showcase in Austin, and creating and acting in a Taco Bell national ad spot. By connecting recipients to a community of like-minded peers and professionals and real-world experiences to practice their craft, Taco Bell and the Taco Bell Foundation are providing students and employees the opportunity to turn their dream jobs into reality.

“Later this week we’ll be hosting 15 of our talented Live Más Scholarship recipients for a creative workshop at Taco Bell headquarters,” says Frank Tucker, Chief People Officer at Taco Bell Corp. and President of the Taco Bell Foundation. “We’re excited for them to join our dynamic teams, partners and franchisees for this two-day summit where we’ll learn from each other, combining real-world business advice with creative projects designed to inspire and test the bounds of our collective creativity.”

The Live Más Scholarship is also one of many programs within Taco Bell’s Start with Us, Stay with Us platform, which supports employees’ passions through education and leadership development opportunities—no matter how long they’ve been with or plan to stay with the brand. Last year, $275,000 in Live Más Scholarships was awarded to 50 Taco Bell restaurant employees; this year, the Taco Bell Foundation is awarding $300,000 to 55 Taco Bell employees, and approximately 400 Taco Bell employees will be awarded with more than $2 million in scholarships by 2022. These restaurant employee scholarships are primarily funded by Taco Bell owners. The Foundation’s plan to award $10 million in Live Más Scholarships by 2022 comes on the heels of Taco Bell’s commitment to hire 100,000 new employees by 2022, meaning more employees will have even more opportunities to pursue professional and educational goals at Taco Bell.

To raise money for the scholarship fund, the Taco Bell Foundation has partnered with Taco Bell on several in-store activations, including two national fundraisers and the two-week Feed a Dream campaign earlier this year, during which time Taco Bell donated a portion of proceeds for every Doritos Locos Taco purchased to the scholarship. The second national fundraiser will take place during the Foundation’s 25th anniversary, August 31 through September 14, when fans are invited to visit their local Taco Bell restaurant and donate $1 to support scholarships and programs. As a thank you, donors receive a coupon for a free crunchy taco or medium drink.