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Pepsi Refresh Project: Local interest in national contest

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Pepsi Refresh Project: Local interest in national contest
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The Pepsi Refresh Project is gaining momentum across the country. It seems like local people, businesses and not-for-profits are all vying for millions of dollars. Our Sarah Hagen spoke with one group that coordinates services for child abuse victims and is hoping for some of those grant dollars.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Pepsi Refresh Project is giving out $20 million in grant dollars to fund projects around the country. That news recently grabbed the attention of one local not-for-profit in Syracuse.

Child Advocacy Site Executive Director Julie Cecile said, "A state of the art child advocacy center. What that relates to is better services for these kids. That opportunity doesn't come along every day."

Different groups are vying for different amounts. McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site is contending for the largest grant of $250,000.

Cecile said, "That kind of funding isn't available from the state, especially with the budget the way it is."

The site opened its doors in 2002, but leaders say with rapidly growing patient numbers, the organization has outgrown its space with about a 20 percent increase over last year.

Although the exact new location hasn't been made official just yet, those in charge say the hope is to take this 4,000 square foot center and move it to a 30,000 square foot center and bring all the resources under one roof.

Cecile said, "That would include sheriff's department, city police, child protective services, our care clinic would be full time, mental health advocacy."

There are more than one thousand projects in the running online, but in the end, there can only be one winner in each group. So getting the word out is a must for some.

Cecile said, "Mass emails, Facebook, everything to get the word out for people to vote."

All votes must be submitted by September 30th. The finalists will be revealed on October 1st.

To browse all the project contestants and vote for which one you think should win, just head to ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP