Funding will support the ‘Liberty Today’ program to help educators make history relevant through a dynamic, online educational platform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, June 30, 2011
Media Contact: Lisa Stites, 434-984-7529

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Monticello today announced that it has been awarded a grant of $500,000 from The Coca-Cola Foundation for an education program aimed at bringing contemporary relevance to the genius of Thomas Jefferson.  The ‘Liberty Today’ initiative will bring together top teachers, international fellows, talented students and digital experts to create a dynamic, online educational platform that contributes to a modern understanding of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

A recent study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress found that only 35 percent of fourth-graders knew the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, a startling fact that demonstrates the importance of investment in history education.

The program will offer competitive scholarships for history teachers to attend a digitally immersive teachers' forum at Monticello, where they can sharpen their ability to make history relevant through new media. They will also contribute to the development of an online platform which will sustain their work once they return to their classrooms.

“Liberty Today brings heightened focus to the teachings of Thomas Jefferson, his ideals and their relevance today,” said Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent.  “This initiative uses interactive online tools to engage students to learn about early American history and our country’s rich traditions of continuous renewal, growth and optimism.” 

“We are thrilled to receive this generous grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, President and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. “Jefferson believed that education was essential to creating an enlightened and free society. Throughout his life he was a champion of public education. This gift extends his legacy to new generations, allowing us to provide gifted teachers and international fellows the opportunity to advance Jeffersonian scholarship to students across the globe.”

The Coca-Cola Company has been a long-time supporter of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s global education mission. The Company’s philanthropy began in 1993 with support for the creation and distribution of “Discover Jefferson Resource Kits” for teachers and school children. Between 1996 and 2007, The Coca-Cola Company provided scholarships to bring international and national Coca-Cola Fellows to the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.  Since that time, Coca-Cola Fellows have taught over 5,500 students and published over 71 scholarly articles and 15 books.

Teachers interested in learning more about Liberty Today and scholarship opportunities can visit to request more information.  

About The Coca-Cola Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation has contributed more than $418 million in support of sustainable community initiatives worldwide.  For more information about philanthropic priorities of The Coca-Cola Foundation, please visit

About the Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Monticello is owned and operated by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. As a private, nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation receives no ongoing federal, state, or local funding in support of its dual mission of preservation and education.