Magic Johnson, Common and Debra Lee join Coca-Cola to Help ‘Pay it Forward’

magic johnson debra lee & common

NBA legend and business mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson, multi-Grammy Award-winning musician, actor and philanthropist Common, and Black Entertainment Television (BET) chairman and CEO Debra Lee join forces with Coca-Cola this month in a movement to uplift and pay it forward to the next generation.

Kicking off the second year of its signature program, “Coca-Cola Pay it Forward,” the world’s most recognized brand enlists the help of some of today’s leading African-American history makers to offer exciting apprenticeship experiences to aspiring youth. Magic Johnson, Common and Debra Lee will serve as mentors, giving four lucky young people the opportunity to shadow them and their teams for a week during the summer. The four apprenticeship experiences will focus on: business (Johnson); music and community (Common); and media/entertainment (Lee). Expanding this year’s program offering, the Company has partnered with UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the country’s largest minority education organization, for a text-to-donate program.

“I have and always will remain committed to uplifting the urban community in my business and nonprofit endeavors, and that makes the Coca-Cola ‘Pay It Forward’ program a perfect fit,” said Johnson. “There is no better way to empower a community than to arm its youth with the necessary skills to succeed.”

“Coca-Cola’s ‘Pay It Forward’ program is a movement to uplift the next generation,” said Lauventria Robinson, vice president, Multicultural Marketing, Coca-Cola North America Group. “It uncaps a world of possibilities for today’s young people by offering once-in-a-lifetime apprenticeship experiences that only Coca-Cola can provide. ‘Pay It Forward’ inspires each of us to take an active role in cultivating and empowering tomorrow’s leaders.”

Parents, relatives, friends, and community members can go to My Coke Rewards ( now through March 2 to nominate an aspiring young person for the exclusive “Pay It Forward” apprenticeship experiences. You must 16 years of age or older to nominate somebody and the apprenticeship experiences are available for young people between the ages of 16-21 (as of May 1, 2013). You can nominate up to five people and you are automatically entered for a chance to win a $5,000 sweepstakes with each nomination. Eligible youth are also invited to nominate themselves.

Join the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Movement
Coca-Cola invites African Americans across the country to join Johnson, Common and Lee in its national movement to pay it forward to the next generation by helping them achieve their education and career aspirations. The Company suggests: nominating an eligible young person for the “Pay It Forward” program; becoming a mentor; taking a teen to work; and/or giving to an academic scholarship group such as UNCF, the nation’s most successful African American scholarship organization. Share ways you are paying it forward and join the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #CokePayItForward.

Pay It Forward with UNCF Text Donations
Coca-Cola has been a partner to UNCF for more than 40 years. Over the last six years, the Company’s contributions to the organization have provided more than $1.5 million in scholarships, impacting more than 300 students.

Furthering its commitment to the “Pay It Forward” movement, Coca-Cola has partnered with UNCF this year to encourage donations for academic scholarships to deserving students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the country. Join Coca-Cola now to donate $5 or $10 by texting “MIND” or “UNCF” respectively to 357357. Message and data rates may apply. Donors must be 18 years of age or older. Terms can be found at

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