Third Annual 21st Century Solutions Grant Challenge Winners Announced
November 11, 2014
In the third year of NBCUniversal Foundation’s 21st Century Solutions grant challenge, in partnership with the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, 30 local nonprofit organizations will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants for programs supporting innovative, high-impact initiatives across 10 markets.
By focusing on social innovation, the competitive grant program encourages nonprofit organizations to move people and communities forward in new and innovative ways. The winning organizations put forth programs that address community’s emerging and ongoing needs in creative ways, including reducing food insecurities, embracing technology for education and communications and supporting veterans and their families.
“Our foundation’s mission is to support dynamic and progressive programs in our communities in order to further innovative thinking that will move our cities and nation forward,” said Beth Colleton, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, NBCUniversal.
“Making an impact in the communities we serve is central to the mission of any local television station,” said Valari Staab, President, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. “The 21st Century Solutions grant challenge is an important way our NBC and Telemundo stations – in partnership with the NBCUniversal Foundation – can recognize and support the most innovative efforts that are truly helping to solve some of today’s most pressing societal issues.”
The grants are being awarded in 10 of the markets served by the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., South Florida, San Diego and Connecticut.
The NBCUniversal Foundation works with the local stations to promote the grant and create a community panel to review and select the final grant recipients. One winning organization and two runners-up are awarded in each market. While the markets were all judged separately, several common themes emerged across the 2014 program:
Girls Write Now in New York is receiving an award for their Digital Media Mentoring Program that pairs aspiring teen writers from underserved communities with writers and media professionals and prepares young women to be leaders in arts, media and technology.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, Big Thought is being awarded a grant for their new initiative, Dallas City of Learning, which has partnered with more than 50 organizations to create a “learning laboratory” that helps students develop digital skills and create pathways to future success. The program is part of a successful partnership launched with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Mozilla.
Youth Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area is receiving an award for their “Youth Radio Innovation Lab” initiative. In partnership with the MIT Media Lab’s Center for Mobile Learning, young people combine programming skills with journalism to develop new storytelling platforms.
The Family Service Association’s Mobile Fresh program in Los Angeles and the Hartford Food System’s Hartford Mobile Market in Connecticut are being awarded for their mobile food pantries. The nonprofits are implementing mobile food stores that travel to the communities with limited availability to healthy food.
In Philadelphia, the Food Bank of South Jersey is receiving a grant for their innovative collaboration with Campbell’s Soup Company and the local farmer’s cooperatives to help feed the hungry and generate a sustainable source of income for the organization. The initiative, called Just Peachy Salsa, takes peaches with small imperfections that are unable to be sold and turns them into a healthy retail product with proceeds going to the Food Bank.
The winning organization in San Diego, United Through Reading, created a pilot program to connect deployed service members with their families at home through their reading program. The program provides cloud-based technology for troops to keep in contact with their loved ones and to continue developing their children’s literacy skills.
In South Florida, the Legal Aid Service of Broward County is receiving a grant for its innovative partnership with the United Way of Broward County to create the “Mission United Veterans Pro Bono Legal Project.” The program fills the gap in legal assistance provided for military members, veterans, and their families by current social services. Attorneys volunteer to represent veterans and service members and receive training to represent military families in need of legal representation.
The Operation Renewed Hope Foundation in Washington, D.C. is being awarded a grant for its “Renewed Hopes Program,” which provides stable housing for homeless or at-risk veterans and their families. The program also provides support services, such as employment assistance.
Here is the full list of this year’s 2014 21st Century Solutions Award Winners:
Family Service Association, $100,000
Girls Write Now, $100,000
Youth Radio, $50,000
Gad's Hill Center, $50,000
Hartford Food System, $50,000
Big Thought, $50,000
Food Forward, $50,000
Per Scholars, $50,000
Upwardly Global, $50,000
Food Bank of South Jersey, $50,000
United Through Reading, $50,000
Legal Aid Service of Broward County, $50,000
Operation Renewed Hope, $50,000
Bring Me A Book Foundation, $25,000
Breathe California of the Bay Area, $25,000
AARP Experience Corps, $25,000
Journey Home, $25,000
Capital Workforce Partners, $25,000
Dallas Foundation, $25,000
Medisend International, $25,000
After School Activities Partnership, $25,000
Enchantment Theater Company, $25,000
American Red Cross – San Diego, $25,000
Mental Health Systems, $25,000
Miami Coalition for the Homeless, $25,000
Miami Children’s Museum, $25,000
D.C. Greens, $25,000
Dress for Success, $25,000