NBC10 Boston/WBTS, Telemundo Boston/WNEU, NBC Sports Boston, NECN and the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation Wednesday announced that six local nonprofits will receive a total of $315,000 in Project Innovation grants.
The winning organizations feature programs that are addressing local community issues through innovative solutions in the areas of community engagement, culture of inclusion, next generation storytelling and youth education and empowerment.
This is the fourth consecutive year the Boston NBC and Telemundo station group along with the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation will recognize local nonprofits through Project Innovation grants.
Project Innovation is presented by the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation and NBC and Telemundo owned stations located in 11 markets, including Boston. The stations held a 3-month long application process and subsequent review panel to select the final grant recipients. This year, the program funding increased in each participating market to $315,000 and to $3.475 million across the 11 markets.
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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 of NBCUniversal Local.
“These outstanding organizations all had projects that will strengthen our community, “said Chris Wayland, president and general manager of the NBCUniversal Boston Owned Properties & Regional Sports Networks. “We are proud to help each of them inspire change through service.”
Local Project Innovation 2021 grant recipients include:
BOSTON Scores New England $10,000
Boston Scores is a youth development organization that partners with the Boston Public School system to provide high-quality afterschool programs that integrate soccer and enrichment programs. Their mission is to promote students' health and well-being, academic engagement, and civic leadership. Working against the achievement gap and health crisis facing the city's poorest neighborhoods, Boston Scores participants see improved physical health, a stronger social and emotional skill set, and become civically engaged. In this way, Scores students do not only make a change for themselves but also learn how to become drivers of change in their communities.
Change is Simple: $50,000
For the past decade, Change is Simple has been providing STEM and experiential learning to students across Massachusetts. It is their mission to instill social and environmental responsibility in children through experiential and project-based learning that inspires critical thinking and action for healthy people and planet. Developed with teachers and based upon current curriculum standards, their program boosts academic success and can be injected into any public school classroom. Since 2011, over 35,000 students have participated in at least one year of Change is Simple programming.
Doc Wayne: $100,000
Doc Wayne’s mission is to fuse sport and therapy to heal and strengthen at-risk youth. They provide innovative mental health services for youth, ages 5-18, by reimagining therapy through the lens of sport. Their team harnesses the power of sports to dismantle the stigma associated with mental health treatment and increase access to care amongst youth. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Doc Wayne also introduced Telehealth capabilities, enabling youth and families to access their mental health services virtually from the safety of their own homes.
Chica Project: $80,000
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. This grant will support Chica Project’s Young Women of Color-led micro-public health campaign to educate Latinx girls and other young women of color about how to prevent COVID-19, while helping them become public health advocates. Working to educate Black and Latinx urban communities about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, their Peer Leaders and Youth Employees will receive a stipend as they gain the knowledge and skills needed to help de-stigmatize its use in underserved urban communities of color. One innovative practice will be the use of social media (TikTok, WhatsAp, IG) to deliver a racial justice-based public health campaign.
Silver Lining: $50,000
Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM) empowers youth in foster care to thrive through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. Silver Lining Mentoring’s clinical staff form the foundation for Community Based Mentoring, which pairs volunteer adult mentors with youth in foster care, and Learn & Earn, an intensive skill-building curriculum with mentoring and matched-savings components. By combining long-term, committed mentoring with personal capacity building, Silver Lining Mentoring empowers youth to move beyond a life of trauma.
National Braille Press Inc.: $25,000
National Braille Press’ mission is to empower the blind and visually impaired with programs, materials, and technology supporting braille literacy and learning through touch. Each year, NBP serves over 15,000 blind children and adults through books, education, and technology. NBP believes that blind people should have access to the same information as sighted people. That access and equity comes from braille. NBP’s unique collection of resources and programs ranges from braille technology guides, screen readers, adult fiction, and accessible menus to children’s books, textbooks, tests, and tactile educational resources.
In addition to Boston, Project Innovation 2021 grants were presented to eligible nonprofits in select markets including southern California (KNBC, KVEA), Chicago (WMAQ, WSNS), Philadelphia (WCAU, WWSI), Dallas-Fort Worth (KXAS, KXTX), New York (WNBC) and Telemundo 47/WNJU, Hartford, Connecticut (WVIT, WRDM), Washington, D.C. (WRC-TV, WZDC), Miami-Fort Lauderdale (WTVJ, WSCV), San Francisco-Bay Area (KNTV, KSTS), and San Diego (KNSD, KUAN).