The Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation and NBCUniversal Local, division of NBCUniversal, announced $3.475 million in Project Innovation grants will be presented to 100 non-profits in 11 markets. The grantees will use the funds to help move their communities forward through programs that are helping to shape the next generation of storytellers, fostering a culture of equity and inclusion, empowering youth with the tools they need to succeed, and inspiring individuals to participate and volunteer in community engagement initiatives.
“For 2021, we increased our grant funding by $1 million dollars to help more organizations continue their important work. This year, we’re supporting organizations that are working hard to address the systemic inequities that have persisted in our communities and were made worse by the pandemic,” said Valari Staab, President, NBCUniversal Local.
“We’re proud for Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation’s funds to be used by all of these outstanding groups to help create opportunities for others and strengthen the communities we serve,” added Jessica Clancy, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, NBCUniversal.
From helping first generation Latino college students get access to the coaching they need to help them succeed in their academic and professional careers to giving young girls from marginalized communities opportunities for a STEM education to help them achieve economic mobility, below is a market snapshot of this year’s Project Innovation grant winners.
New York: Latino U College Access
Serving Westchester County, NY Latino U College Access (LUCA) empowers low-income, first-generation Latino students on their journeys to and through college so they can fulfill their remarkable potential. The Latino U Scholars program begins in junior year of high school when students are nominated by school counselors in partner school districts. Scholars are paired with highly trained volunteer College Coaches who provide intensive, individualized mentorship throughout the college admissions process to identify the best academic and financial fit schools. Once enrolled in college, students continue receiving culturally relevant, family-centered support throughout their college journeys, ensuring they persist and graduate career-ready. Funding would grow the Latino U Scholars model to serve an additional 30 students in Westchester County school districts with Latino student populations over 50%.
Southern California: Koreatown Youth and Community Center, Inc.
The non-profit will use its grant funding to extend the group’s “Intergenerational Initiative” designed to promote a greater understanding and respect between generations in the diverse Koreatown community. The grant will focus on a multilingual, multiethnic oral history and digital storytelling with high school students and elders. In addition, the program will dig into racial, economic and health issues in the Asian American community.
Chicago: Firebird Community Arts
The organization’s “Project FIRE” program is a year-round artist development and trauma recovery program for youth injured by gun violence in partnership with Healing Hurt People-Chicago. Youth meet twice a week to learn glassblowing and attend trauma support groups while also receiving mentoring, employment, a hot meal, transit support and access to wrap around services. The non-profit will use its grant funding to add an entrepreneurship component to Project FIRE allowing participants who have moved beyond their acute trauma and gained sufficient glassblowing skills to continue to have stable employment and connect to the organization’s networks of support.
Philadelphia: Healthy NewsWorks
Healthy NewsWorks guides youth through a journalism program in which they learn and report about public health and healthy behaviors. Grant funding will expand the reach of these publications and build stronger relationships with families and the broader community.
Dallas Fort-Worth: Taste Project
The organization’s “Taste Community Restaurant” provides an innovative opportunity for the community to respond to hunger related challenges. Serving more than 100,000 meals with an 80% volunteer staff, the group’s restaurant does not list prices in its menu, everyone pays what they can and everyone dines together. The non-profit will use its grant funding to support operating costs for the next few months.
Bay Area: Techbridge Girls
Techbridge Girls (TBG) is an organization bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to girls in the Bay Area and across the U.S. The group excites, educates and equips girls from marginalized communities to leverage their STEM education as a path towards economic mobility. The non-profit will use its grant funding to double the number of girls they serve in the Bay Area from 1,500 to 3,000 each year. Funding will also allow the organization to support schools and families as they navigate challenging educational circumstances throughout 2021 by continue to provide virtual, flexible and responsive STEM programming.
Washington, D.C.: DC Scores
The non-profit will use its grant funding to adapt and expand their "Poet-Athletes for Change" program, transitioning to hybrid in-person programming this spring and back to full in-person programming by the fall. Program participants play soccer, write and perform original poetry, and execute service projects, all as part of a school-based team. The organization also plants to adapt their content to more explicitly incorporate racial justice themes into all aspects of their program.
Boston: Chica Project
Chica Project closes the opportunity divide for Latinas and other Women of Color by empowering them with the skills, confidence and networks they need to thrive. The organization will use grant funding to expand Chica Project’s micro-public health campaign to educate Latinx girls and other young Women of Color about how to prevent COVID-19 while helping them to become public health advocates. Program participants’ families have faced COVID-19 employment, health, basic needs, and housing challenges.
South Florida: Breakthrough Miami
Positioned as an Opportunity Generator in South Florida for thirty years, Breakthrough Miami uses a “students-teaching-students” model to create a rigorous, vibrant learning community, where highly motivated, traditionally underrepresented 5th-12th grade students are supported to achieve post-secondary success and emerging leaders are inspired to become the next generation of educators and advocates. Grant funding will support the organization’s “Breakthrough to Innovation & Entrepreneurial Leaders” program, impacting 200 Breakthrough Scholars in 8th grade.
San Diego: ElderHelp of San Diego
ElderHelp offers thoroughly vetted home sharing opportunities that benefit low income seniors and renters by providing below market rents to extend meager budgets and alleviate the real prospect of homelessness. For over 25 years, the unique matching service known as HomeShare has been an integral part of ElderHelp’s mission to help seniors live independently with dignity in their own homes.
West Hartford, CT: Discovering Amistad
The organization will use the grant funding to support their new program “Voyage to Hartford” which addresses social injustice, promotes diversity, and facilitates conversations about the role we all must play in dismantling systemic racism. The educational program will be offered to 1,400 students from Hartford Schools and surrounding schools for approximately 12 weeks. The program’s curriculum includes virtual/online learning, dockside education and leadership education centered around the history of the 1839 Amistad Uprising.