The NBCUniversal Foundation’s Project Innovation strengthens communities across the country

Project Innovation

Local television stations are deeply rooted in their communities, serving as familiar and reliable sources of news, information and resources. SVCF partner The NBCUniversal Foundation, along with NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal, plans to introduce “Project Innovation,” a new grant challenge program to help make a significant impact in 11 markets where an NBC and Telemundo owned station is located. Through Project Innovation, The NBCUniversal Foundation and the local stations will recognize non-profit organizations that are using technology and innovation to create solutions for everyday challenges their communities are facing.

“At its core, Project Innovation captures what is meaningful to The NBCUniversal Foundation, which is the idea that we should be funding community change, and leveraging media technology and innovation,” said Jessica Clancy, Vice President, Community Impact, Comcast NBCUniversal.

Through Project Innovation, The NBCUniversal Foundation and local NBC and Telemundo stations will award nearly $5 million in 2018 and 2019 to nonprofit organizations that are solving everyday problems through innovation and technology solutions. Participating markets and stations include:

  • Bay Area (KNTV, KSTS)
  • Boston (NBC Boston, necn, WNEU)
  • Chicago (WMAQ, WSNS)
  • Hartford (WVIT, WRDM)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (KXAS, KXTX)
  • New York (WNBC, WNJU)
  • Philadelphia (WCAU, WWSI)
  • San Diego (KNSD, Telemundo 20)
  • South Florida (WTVJ, WSCV)
  • Southern California (KNBC, KVEA)
  • Washington, D.C. (WRC, WZDC)

“Project Innovation allows our local stations to really do what they do best: be involved in their communities,” said Therese Gamba, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Acquired Programming, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. “Our stations are constantly on the cusp of innovation and through our new grant challenge, our local stations will have an opportunity to recognize outstanding local groups that are using technology to resolve every-day problems for their communities. Project Innovation is a great example of the pioneering spirit that drives our stations to deliver great work day for their viewers day in and day out and we’re very excited to introduce this new program across 11 markets and in multiple languages.”

The NBCUniversal Foundation will award $225,000 amongst three to eight nonprofits in each of the 11 markets. The NBCUniversal Foundation team will work closely with the stations to evaluate applications and choose winners. Grant categories include:

Igniting Civic Engagement: Grants in this category will support programs that provide or expand opportunities for citizens to engage and volunteer in their communities, especially in this digital age leveraging media and technology. Examples include online volunteering portals and events, community online campaigns, community development programs and online mentoring programs.

Skills for the Digital Economy: Grants in this category will support middle-skills jobs training, adult career employment, readiness and innovative adult workforce development programs in an effort to close the gap between education, income and prosperity in the local community. Examples include adult job training programs, veteran workforce training programs, self-employment pathway programs, hackathons, transitional job programs and digital media programs.

STEM/STEAM Youth Programming: Grants in this category will support youth education programs that aim to encourage and train the next generation of workers for advance careers in STEM or STEAM fields, specifically focused on K-12 programs. Examples include science, technology, engineering, art or math programs/camps; youth coding programs; education technology programs; job training programs for diverse college bound students; and maker labs.

“These are three really big focus areas in the communities where our owned stations are located, as well as national issues that make sense for us to tackle,” Clancy added. “More importantly, they are representative of issues that nonprofits are working on in our communities. They allow us to stay much more focused than having six or seven categories, so we can really recognize the best examples of groups working in these areas.”

Significant participation from each NBC and Telemundo station will be essential to Project Innovation’s success. Each station will market the program and accept applications from January 12, 2018, through Feb. 2, 2018.

“Each station will do its own local marketing to get the word out about Project Innovation,” Gamba noted. “Our stations will roll out localized marketing campaigns on-air, digitally and socially and across two languages. The goal is to make sure everybody has the opportunity to look at what’s available, fill out the forms and be part of this incredible opportunity. We’re excited to raise awareness about this new grant challenge because opportunities of this magnitude don’t happen often.”

Project Innovation isn’t the first grant challenge from The NBCUniversal Foundation. Previously, 21stCentury Solutions awarded nearly $6 million to local nonprofits over five years. Transitioning to the Project Innovation program will help the foundation continue to tackle important community issues. It will target important community issues and will give grant applicants more flexibility.

Supporting nonprofits that are making a difference in 11 markets where an NBC and Telemundo station is located will also help to further strengthen the stations’ already strong and deeply entrenched community roots. Project Innovation will assist not only familiar, well-known nonprofits but also newer organizations in need of a helping hand.

“This is a great way for NBCUniversal to showcase its commitment to local communities and to the core pillars we believe are important to driving community change – innovation, technology, media,” Clancy said. “We should see some great groups doing some really interesting things, which is exciting.”

The Project Innovation application period opens on Jan. 12, 2018, and runs through Feb. 2, 2018. Learn more.