‘Project Innovation' 2020 Grant Recipients Announced

$225,000 in grant funding dedicated to organizations that are helping communities impacted by the coronavirus crisis

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NBC 4 New York/WNBC, Telemundo 47/WNJU and the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation today announced a total of $225,000 in Project Innovation grants will be presented to seven organizations that are using innovation to tackle everyday problems and urgent COVID-19 needs in Tri-State communities. The non-profit organizations selected as Project Innovation 2020 grant recipients all exhibited flexibility with their programming and will use their funding to deliver services and programs that address the needs of those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our Project Innovation winners are using innovative and creative approaches to fight food insecurity, support our elderly and develop new job skills amid the pandemic.  They are making a positive impact in many of the Tri-State’s most affected communities, helping our neighbors rise above the current challenges. We are thrilled to join the NBCUniversal Foundation and our partners at Telemundo 47 by honoring these deserving non-profits,” said Eric Lerner, President and General Manager of NBC 4 New York.

This year, a total of $2.475 million in Project Innovation grants have been awarded to not-profit organizations in 11 markets, including the New York/Tri-State Area market. 

“Telemundo 47 is proud to join with WNBC and the NBCUniversal Foundation in recognizing these innovative non-profits. Our winners are using the latest technology, providing services and experiences, and are going above and beyond to help our communities during this challenging time,” said Cristina Schwarz, President and General Manager of Telemundo 47 New York.

Local Project Innovation 2020 grant recipients include:

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine - $40,000

Through its “Food Rescue Program” the group leverages technology to rescue food and goods that would otherwise be wasted to feed individuals in underserved and low-income communities. Based in New York City, the organization is rescuing food from food establishments such as grocery stores, food manufacturers, and restaurants in New York and 16 cities across the nation affected by COVID-19 and delivering the food to those in need. They are planning to launch more technology including a mobile app to increase food rescues to lessen the food needs in the communities it serves.

The Doe Fund, Inc. - $35,000

The Doe Fund develops and implements cost-effective, holistic programs that meet the needs of a diverse population working to break the cycles of homelessness, addiction, and criminal recidivism. Participants in the Ready, Willing & Able - Welding Training Program will be trained to meet the growing demand for skilled welders in Brooklyn. With unemployment applications at a high, the training will help prepare individuals for high demand positions.

Digital Girl, Inc.- $30,000

Digital Girl Incorporated's mission is to empower the underserved youth, especially young girls, to pursue studies and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines. One of the primary goals of the program is to stimulate an interest among young women of color in studies pertaining to STEM principles. The organization is currently offering daily, free-of-charge programs on a virtual basis, adapting student skills training to ensure continuity while supporting social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOROT, Inc. - $30,000

DOROT, Inc. helps to alleviate social isolation among the elderly and provide services to help them live independently as valued members of the community. While temporarily shifting away from in-home visits, the organization has implemented a new Caring Calls program which connects volunteers with elders for weekly and twice-weekly phone calls and has shifted onsite programs to a virtual format. They to expand four of their existing volunteer-based programs through a partnership with Morningside Retirement Health and Services to serve seniors engaged by that community organization.

Qualitas of Life - $30,000

The mission of Qualitas of Life Foundation is to improve the standard of living of Hispanic individuals and their families, and to foster their financial health and security through financial education and asset building programs and activities. They are continuing to work with clients virtually offering financial support and resources for Hispanic families. The organization is working to move toward more online programming to meet the evolving needs of its clientele.

Sunrise Day Camp - $30,000

Sunrise's mission is to bring back the joys of childhood to children with cancer and their siblings world-wide through Day Camps, Year-Round Programs and In-Hospital Recreational Activities, all offered free of charge. They are adapting their programs including creating a new virtual-based initiative that will bring the magic of both camp and Sunrise on Wheels right into campers' homes and hospital rooms. The organization is also creating a guide to provide resources and referrals to the people they serve.

Tech Kids Unlimited - $30,000

Tech Kids Unlimited (TKU) helps students with autism spectrum, learning and emotional disabilities learn about and acquire the skills relevant for careers in technology. Workshops includes technical education and the development of work-based soft skills to achieve success in the marketplace. Currently, programs are in a virtual space and students are working on podcasts, creating logos, and making websites. The organization is also sharing relevant resources for students and parents on how to cope with the changes to routine and learning they are facing as a result of COVID-19.

Project Innovation applications opened on January 11 and closed on February 15. The Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation and NBC/Telemundo owned stations reviewed applications virtually beginning March 2020. Applications were evaluated to determine groups’ ability to advance their communities in the areas of storytelling, community engagement, culture of inclusion and youth education, as well as their preparedness and capacity to deliver quality programming that meets the pressing needs that have developed in their communities during this unprecedented time.

Project Innovation 2020 grants were presented to eligible non-profit organizations in select markets including New York (WNBC, WNJU), Southern California (KNBC, KVEA), Chicago (WMAQ, WSNS), Philadelphia (WCAU, WWSI), Dallas-Fort Worth (KXAS, KXTX), Boston (WBTS, WNEU, NECN), Hartford, CT (WVIT, WRDM), Washington, D.C. (WRC-TV, WZDC), Miami-Fort Lauderdale (WTVJ, WSCV), San Francisco Bay Area (KNTV, KSTS), and San Diego (KNSD, KUAN).

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