Pepsi Stronger Together, Shaquille O’Neal And The CTG Foundation Announce New Law Enforcement Training Efforts Across Atlanta

ATLANTA, April 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pepsi Stronger Together – the Brand’s series of grassroots initiatives bringing tailored programming and support…

ATLANTA, April 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Pepsi Stronger Together – the Brand’s series of grassroots initiatives bringing tailored programming and support to communities across the country, in partnership with Shaquille O’Neal and The Close the Gap (CTG) Foundation, today announced two significant local outreach initiatives: a three-month police de-escalation training program for sheriff deputies across Fulton and Henry Counties, and a series of renovations in local youth and domestic violence shelters.

At a press conference held at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office earlier today, members of the media and local community came together in a socially-distanced space as Shaquille O’Neal, PepsiCo executives, The CTG Foundation, and the Henry and Fulton County Sheriffs spoke about the important work being done to support community relations and at local youth crisis and domestic violence shelters. Notable attendees included Derek Lewis (President, South Division, PepsiCo Beverages North America), Shaquille O’Neal (CEO of the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, Community Relations Director for the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, and former NBA player), Rich Baker (Founder and CEO of the CTG Foundation), Henry County Sheriff Reginald Scandrett, Fulton County Sheriff Patrick «Pat» Labat, Dr. Roger A. Mitchell, Jr. (Chair of Pathology at Howard University, immediate past chair for the National Association of Medical Examiners Deaths in Custody Subcommittee and previous chief medical examiner for the District of Columbia), and Forensic Psychologist Dr. Joseph A. Hill, Ph.D., LPC, CRC.

«It has been wonderful to be involved with Pepsi Stronger Together to help enrich communities around the country,» said Shaquille O’Neal. «As a resident and Director of Community Relations of Henry County, I care deeply for the Atlanta community. It is important to me to help strengthen the relationship between local law enforcement and the community with The CTG Foundation’s de-escalation training, and to support those in need with the renovations at A Friend’s House and Haven House shelters.»

The de-escalation training program, which will include 1,000 Sheriff Deputies across Fulton and Henry Counties, comes at a moment of national recognition for police-community relations.

«Implementing the de-escalation program, in partnership with Pepsi Stronger Together and the CTG Foundation, is an integral step in further building our relationship with the people we protect, serve, and care so much about,» said Sheriff Reginald Scandrett of Henry County. «We are thrilled to be able to take part in this program and look forward to the chance to work with these two valuable organizations for the good of the people in our communities,» added Sheriff Patrick «Pat» Labat of Fulton County.

As a part of Pepsi Stronger Together’s expanded efforts across Atlanta, renovations also began at youth crisis and domestic violence shelters A Friend’s House, where ground broke this Monday, and Haven House, where work will begin next week. Both emergency shelters are located across the street from Henry County Sheriff’s Office and renovations include kitchen upgrades and a food pantry, expected to be completed later this spring.

«Pepsi Stronger Together is proud to be back in Atlanta today with Shaq and The CTG Foundation announcing new efforts to expand law enforcement training and provide tools for working within the community,» said Derek Lewis, President, South Division, PepsiCo Beverages North America. «With more than 2,000 PepsiCo employees living in and around Atlanta, it is important to give back to the communities in which we live and work. By joining forces with our incredible local partners, we are not only able to support programs like these, but are also able to expand our initiatives across the metro Atlanta area.»


The Close the Gap Foundation (CTG) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on three pillars to support communities across the country – youth mentorship, law enforcement training and domestic abuse support. Through a variety of training resources, the CTG Foundation builds trust and connections so individuals can feel safe at home and in their communities. For more information and how to get involved, visit To join the conversation, visit @ctg_foundation.


Pepsi Stronger Together is a national initiative to empower and engage communities around the country by providing tailored programming and resources that bring people together. It was conceived with the idea that now, more than ever, we must foster a sense of connection and belonging, starting by investing locally. Launched in May of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – engaging its network of partners in the South to shine a spotlight on essential front-line workers in a variety of industries – Pepsi Stronger Together was expanded in October of 2020 by partnering with NBA teams and charitable organizations to foster, among other things, community and police relations.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. Under this vision, Pepsi Stronger Together is continually evolving the program to respond to the cultural moment and meet the needs of communities across the United States. Stay up to date at, where visitors can engage in conversation and learn about the latest community initiatives and how to give back. Follow the conversation on social media at @pepsistrongertogether.


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