Vote for Haas Student’s Hep B Project in Pepsi Grant Competition


PepsiCo Inc. is giving away millions of dollars to fund projects that will have a positive impact on local communities, and Brian Lin, BS 10 (business and molecular cell biology), is working hard to make sure that Berkeley’s Hep B Project gets a share of that money.

The Haas community can help him get there by voting for the project in the Pepsi Refresh Project, at refresheverything.com/hepbproject.

The Pepsi Refresh Project is a competition designed to give grants to projects in the categories of health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education. Each month Pepsi is posting the first 1,000 ideas it receives at refresheverything.com, where the public can search and vote for up to ten projects daily.

The company then will give ten grants of $5,000, $25,000, and $50,000 each and two $250,000 grants to the projects with the most votes each month.

The nine-month-old Hep B Project, founded by two Berkeley undergrads and one alumnus, has 40 student and alumni volunteering to help prevent a disease that disproportionately affects Asians and Pacific Islanders. With the help of volunteer doctors and nurses and vaccines donated by the Alameda County Public Health Department, the organization operates a weekly Saturday morning clinic at Asian Health Services in Oakland Chinatown and a Wednesday afternoon clinic in Oakland’s Fruitvale District.

The Hep B Project clinics provide free screenings and vaccinations for low-income, uninsured patients. Another goal of the organization is to educate at-risk Asians about hepatitis B and to create a student-run model for eliminating health disparities. Volunteers spread the word by disseminating flyers at various clinics and pharmacies and by setting up booths at health fairs and H1N1 clinics.

The Hep B Project has received $12,000 from the Clinton Global Initiative University Outstanding Commitment Award, the Donald A. Strauss Foundation, and the Pat Tillman Foundation. But a Pepsi Refresh Project grant is exactly what the group needs to move forward because, while staff members are unpaid volunteers, screenings must be paid for.

“We’ve been using the $12,000 for screenings, but our funds are getting low, and we have to find additional ways to raise money,” says Lin.

The $25,000 Pepsi grant money would be used to pay for screenings and promotional items. There are also plans for expansion, and the organization is currently searching for a place to host a clinic in Hayward.

Lin is involved in the project for very personal reasons. “My father is a carrier, and both of my grandparents died from hepatitis B,” he says.

At press time the Hep B Project was in seventh place for the month of April. To help the project remain in the top 10 and work to eliminate hepatitis B in Alameda County, cast a vote as often as once a day at refresheverything.com/hepbproject.

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