NBC Connecticut, Telemundo Connecticut, and Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation awarded a total of $315,000 in grants to eight Connecticut nonprofits that have submitted projects for the 2021 Project Innovation Grant Challenge. The winning organizations feature programs that are addressing local community issues through innovative solutions in the areas of community engagement, culture of inclusion, and youth education and empowerment.
Local Project Innovation 2021 grant recipients include:
Community Resources for Justice: Their organization received our grant to support their Family ReEntry program. Their mission is to change lives and strengthen communities by advancing policy and delivering services that promote safety, equity, and inclusion to break cycles of violence, crime, and incarceration by providing client-centered interventions and direct support services that empower and fortify individuals, families and communities.
CT Humane Society: As the oldest and most comprehensive organization of its kind in our state, the CT Humane Society strives to fill the gap in a diverse, well-equipped STEM workforce by implementing a multipart program catered to local high school students. The requested funds will allow them to scale up to two existing programs by extending contacts and learning via in-person, virtual, and take-home experiences that connect students with the animals they love. This program's goal is to motivate high school students to explore careers that provide animal welfare.
CT Invention Convention: Their winning program stimulates innovation while creating a high-impact educational experience that addresses the need for creative problem-solving skills not typically found in the school curriculum. This winning program aligns with the Common Core and NGSS, promoting education and inspiration to support and create confidence among the students.They offer events designed to provide students with the experience of communicating their ideas and work to professionals.
CT Radio Information System: CRIS is Connecticut's only radio reading service. Their CRISKids Book Club program services children residing in poverty or low-income communities, many in areas where English is a second language, and reading scores are far below the state average in Connecticut. The awarded grant will allow them to continue providing students, parents, and educators with a unique tool that integrates technology - digital, human-narrated audio recordings downloaded onto an MP3 player and hard-copy print books that significantly improve student reading.
Discovering Amistad: The organization will use the grant funding to support their new program “Voyage to Hartford” which addresses social injustice, promotes diversity, and facilitates conversations about the role we all must play in dismantling systemic racism. The educational program will be offered to 1,400 students from Hartford Schools and surrounding schools for approximately 12 weeks. The program’s curriculum includes virtual/online learning, dockside education and leadership education centered around the history of the 1839 Amistad Uprising.
Havenly Treats: The Heavenly Fellowship 2021 program addresses the issues that refugees encounter when resettling into the US. The state-local program provides cash assistance, but it only allows it for three months, and they expect women to find a job and learn English in a short period of time. The obtained award allows us to assist this organization by providing funds to support paid training that combines work experience with adult education, allowing them to integrate into their local communities.
The Diaper Bank of CT: Their program Basic Health Needs Action Team: Mobilizing in Support of Basic Health Needs Across the Lifespan received our grant to support and sustain a group of volunteers that will amplify the message and advocate on behalf of CT families. With our support and their volunteers, they will provide basic needs to people throughout their lifespans. From infants to seniors, this program impacts every age demographic.
Music Haven: Music Haven is the only program in the state of Connecticut and one of only a handful in the country that provides 100% free one-on-one lessons by professional, conservatory-trained musicians to low-income youth. All students also have access to tutoring, homework support, SAT prep tutors, concert trips, master classes, audition and college application help, and healthy snacks. This grant benefits students that reside in low-income neighborhoods and attend underperforming public schools, most of which lack strings programs.
Project Innovation is presented by the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation and NBC and Telemundo owned stations located in 11 markets, including Hartford/New Haven. Grant applications opened January 8 and closed on February 12. The stations created and gathered community panels to review grant applications and select final grant recipients. This year, the program funding levels increased in each participating market to $315,000 up from $225,000 and to $3.475 million across the 11 markets, up from $2.475 million
To learn more about the Project Innovation Grant Challenge visit https://www.nbcuprojectinnovation.com/