Taco Bell awarding $17M in scholarships, youth grants

Taco Bell is giving out $17 million to youth "to educate and inspire the next generation of leaders," the Irvine-based company announced Tuesday.

The Taco Bell Foundation will award $7 million to 725 scholarship winners out of nearly 10,000 applicants. On June 1, an additional $10 million in grants will be disbursed to nearly 400 local youth-serving organizations across the country as part of the foundation's "Day of Giving."

This year's scholarship recipients include 150 Taco Bell employees and 305 people who have won the Live Mas Scholarships in the past and applied for a renewal. 

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Scholarship awards range from $5,000 to $25,000 per student." After a tough year of remote learning, we hope these scholarships help inspire young people around the country to continue pursuing their boldest ambitions," said Jennifer Bradbury, executive director of the Taco Bell Foundation. 

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"We are so excited to have met the commitment we set for ourselves to award $21 million in scholarships by 2021 in just six years and look forward to supporting students on their educational journeys in even more innovative ways in the future."New and old scholarship winners will come together for a virtual conference this summer to network and develop personal and professional skills.

The "Summer of Connection" will feature topics including early career success, navigating change, how to earn money and what to do with it, self-advocacy and networking.

To raise money for the scholarship fund, the Taco Bell Foundation partners with Taco Bell restaurants to host national fundraisers twice a year.

This year, fundraising has already begun in participating restaurants. Through July 1, customers will be asked to round up their order to the nearest dollar at checkout.