Charities not seeking same grant

There was an awkward moment when two local charities thought they were in competition for the same prize.

There was an awkward moment when two local charities thought they were in competition for the same prize.

Cosmos, which operates day programs for developmentally disabled adults, had just entered their idea in Pepsi’s Canadawide Refresh Everything contest when organizers learned that the Central Alberta Women’s Outreach was in, too.

They’ve both entered in the $100,000 category, so it’s not surprising that contest organizers with the two groups initially thought they were after the same prize.

Using social media this way is a relatively new experience, so it has been a bit confusing, said Barb Barber, executive director for the Women’s Outreach.

She and Sharyl Salomons, who is co-ordinating Cosmos Group’s entry, both said that it was uncomfortable to compete against another, equally deserving group working in the same community.

Then came the news that while they are after the same prize category, their entries are in different divisions.

Earlier this week, Cosmos was in 30th place in the Neighbourhoods division while the Women’s Outreach was running 28th in the Food and Shelter division.

No more worries about vote splitting — people can support both organizations without taking any votes away from either one.

Barber said her group would use its winnings to pay down the mortgage on Julietta’s Place, an affordable housing project now under construction for families fleeing domestic violence.

The Cosmos people have earmarked a number of projects if their idea wins, including putting new computers in their learning centre and buying a wheelchair-accessible van.

Barber and Salomons are encouraging people to take every opportunity possible to vote for their ideas at or look for the contest links on the Outreach web page at and the Cosmos Group of Companies page on

Altogether, Pepsi is offering prizes of $5,000, $10,000, $25,000 and $100,000 for ideas in each of six categories: Health, Arts and Culture, Food and Shelter, The Planet, Neighbourhoods and Education.

Participants can vote for up to 10 ideas each day.

Contestants get extra points if voters add the link to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, said Barber.

Voting ends on Dec. 31, with winning ideas to be announced on Jan. 1, 2011.