In the spirit of moving our communities forward by supporting local non-profits that are embracing technology and innovation to develop new community-wide solutions, The NBCUniversal Foundation and NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal, announced a total of $2.475 million in Project Innovation grants for 62 non-profits located all across the country. Launched earlier this year, Project Innovation is presented by The NBCUniversal Foundation and NBC and Telemundo owned stations located in 11 markets. For 2018, NBC and Telemundo owned stations have awarded up to $225,000 in Project Innovation grants to a maximum of eight qualified 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations in each of their markets including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, and Hartford.
“Our 2018 Project Innovation winners all have a profound dedication for their communities. We’re excited to celebrate the outstanding groups that are standing at the front lines every day, working hard to spur real change in their communities and foster our next generation of innovators. We look forward to working with all the local groups to help move our communities forward,” added Valari Staab, President, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations.
Project Innovation applications opened on January 12, 2018 and closed on February 2, 2018. The NBCUniversal Foundation and local stations convened with local application review panels to select all the local grant winners among three grant categories: Igniting Civic Engagement, Skills for the Digital Economy and STEM/STEAM Youth Programming. The 2018 Project Innovation grant winners feature non-profits that are using mobile technology to mobilize young Latino voters, social media to crowdsource city-wide solutions, hands-on training to help individuals with Autism gain competitive work opportunities, and are providing real-life work experiences to youth in technology/media and STEM fields to prepare them for successful careers, among others.
“We launched Project Innovation to help meet the changing needs of our communities. Our first-ever group of grant winners are visionaries and champions of their local communities. We applaud their work and tenacity and look forward to working with our community partners in the year ahead to help affect real change in our communities,” said Jessica Clancy, Vice President, Community Impact, Comcast NBCUniversal.
A market snapshot of 2018 Project Innovation winners include:
- Southern California: InnerCity Struggle’s “Relay Program”- An integrated voter engagement program aimed at Eastside Los Angeles youth that uses peer-to-peer text messaging and social media to help increase community engagement and voter participation of Latino millennials in the area, across all election cycles.
- New York: Red Hook Initiative’s “Digital Stewards”- A community-led effort that seeks to close the digital divide, generate economic opportunity, facilitate access to essential services and improve quality of life in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The program trains low-income young adults for careers in technology and media. Youth directly install, maintain and promote “Red Hook WIFI” a free, broadband community network and “redhookwifi.com,” a local source for news and information and gain hands-on experience for future careers in technology.
- Chicago: Project Exploration’s “Youth Science Pathways” – The The program provides opportunities for youth to work alongside scientists and engineers to help increase youth’s interest in STEM-related careers, create a pipeline for training and increase diversity in STEM professions.
- Philadelphia: Hopeworks ‘N Camden’s “Recode Your Future” – A program that creates a pathway for young adults for careers in technology and web development by engaging young adults in an intensive curriculum focused on technical training in web development, graphic design and coding. The program helps participants gain permanent employment in high-paying tech jobs. The program also helps to build a diverse workforce pipeline for jobs in technology fields.
- Dallas/Fort Worth: Junior Player Guild’s “Digital Media”– The program provides youth in North Texas an opportunity to learn the basics of mixed media, graphic design and software applications through multiple locations or “camps” located all throughout the area. Youth also receive valuable experience working with different technology mediums alongside local professionals.
- Washington, D.C.: Community Bridges, Inc.’s “Makerspace Program” -Through exposure to mechanical and electronic engineering design and polycrop farming technique, the program prepares young girls for high-paying jobs in STEM fields, and helps to close the socio-economic gap in their families and communities.
- San Francisco Bay Area: TalkingPoints’ “Parent-Facing Mobile App”– This program develops and expands the “TalkingPoints” parent-facing mobile application to more than 30,000 parents in low-income, minority school communities in the area to help them communicate with their children’s teachers and school communities, and with each other without language barriers. The “TalkingPoints” app also provides parents with tools and information to help increase parent/children school-related engagement at home.
- Boston: iCivics, Inc.’s “Unleashing Youth Engagement: Action-Based Civic Education in Boston”– The program will connect eighth grade civics teachers in Boston with local volunteer organizations to engage their classrooms in “civics in action” community projects this year and present their civics-related projects in a final showcase in spring 2019. The program will also provide professional development for teachers. This program involves a partnership between Boston Public Schools (BPS) and iCivics.
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale: Miami Foundation, Inc.’s “100 Great Ideas Campaign: Building a Sustainable and Resilient City”–The program uses social media to crowdsource city-wide solutions critical to South Florida. Miami Foundation’s multiple-day, social media community brainstorm will encourage locals to engage in dialogue around issues focused on sustainability and resilience. The Foundation will deliver a community-inspired solutions report to elected officials and community leaders to help accelerate policy solutions for sustainability in South Florida.
- San Diego: National Foundation for Autism Research’s “NFAR Tech”– A program that provides supportive and hands-on training to individuals with Autism to help them gain competitive work opportunities.
- Hartford: Children’s Museum "Early STEAM (ESTEAM) After School Program" - The ESTEAM project seeks to increase academic performance among young children in urban schools, as well as their interests in STEM fields by maximizing the academic infrastructure at local schools and the Children’s Museum. The program exposes 6 to 12 year olds to STEM programs, resources and one-on-one learning opportunities with professional educators who also serve as role models for students.