NBC Universal Puts $1.3 Million into Public Education Support

Media Foundation Focuses on Secondary School Students

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Susan Haspel
Susan Haspel
The NBC Universal Foundation is putting $1.3 million into programs that help public high school students -- and it's encouraging its employees to volunteer as well. NBC Universal's Susan Haspel explains why.

At NBC Universal, we've always believed education is critical to the lives and well-being of all Americans. I remember vividly back in the late 1980s when NBC was the first television network to step up to the plate to create a public service campaign to help address the critical need for teachers. In 1989, "The More You Know" hit the airwaves, featuring some of NBC's most memorable faces such as Bill Cosby, Brooke Shields and Tom Brokaw, with impactful teacher recruitment and appreciation messages that reached millions.

Two decades later, NBC Universal's award-winning "The More You Know" remains the longest-running, most comprehensive, TV network public service campaign in the media landscape. NBC Universal continues to donate millions of dollars in airtime each year to "The More You Know" public service announcements.

In the spirit of education, the NBC Universal Foundation this year is directing $1.3 million toward programs that support public secondary education. In its fourth year, the company is committed to providing financial assistance to nonprofit organizations to help strengthen the educational groundwork students need to succeed in school, especially now when nonprofits are facing such tough times.

Thirty-three nonprofit organizations in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington, D.C., will receive funding. In addition to financial support, employees from NBC Universal and its parent company, General Electric Co., volunteer their time by serving as mentors, tutors and career speakers.

We've made significant strides in strengthening students' academic performances. Funding for the Economic Literacy and Media Literacy Girls Advisory Board program has enabled Girls Inc. of greater Los Angeles to educate almost 800 girls in concepts pertaining to finance, budgeting and saving, economic justice and leadership development. The Girls Inc. program also provides unique mentoring opportunities to young women, providing access to prominent women from all facets of the entertainment community, mentors who embody the vision and mission of Girls Inc. As a result of their exposure to this program, this past June, 80 Girls Inc. seniors graduated from high school and enrolled in post-secondary education, a 100% success rate.

Last year in New York, 100% of East Harlem seniors participating in the Young Women's Leadership Network program graduated from high school and were accepted into college. In Miami, Hands on Miami's Project Green Hands program used its funds to engage 1,054 youths in planting 29 gardens and 7,345 trees in the community.

We look forward to working closely with the new and returning NBC Universal Foundation grant recipients to make a sustainable impact in underrepresented communities where NBC Universal employees work and live.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Haspel is VP-corporate community affairs of NBC Universal.