NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

How Cable Programmers Are Giving Back to Communities Nationwide

How Cable Programmers Are Giving Back to Communities Nationwide

community service

The cable industry has a long history of giving back to the communities they serve, and the holiday season is a good time to highlight the corporate philanthropic efforts underway. Many of these projects, spearheaded by America's broadband providers as highlighted last week, are truly making a difference for the non-profits and the people they serve. Cable programmers are also leading a myriad of these initiatives throughout the industry that focus on bringing together communities through volunteerism, charity events, and grant giving, as well as reaching youth through education, influential programming, and messaging. And while it’s nearly impossible to capture all of the activities that happen year-round, below are a handful of these efforts that exemplify the cable programming community’s mission to give back and to serve as catalysts for societal change:  

HBO partners with NOVA, a nonprofit that develops training programs for jobs in the film industry, to offer professional development opportunities for people who live in the communities where HBO films on location. For many people, it's a once in a lifetime chance to get into the TV & film industry. The network also partners with schools all over the country to offer select HBO programming with a companion curriculum for documentaries and specials that encourage civic discourse in the classroom.  

A+E Networks partners with Habitat for Humanity, the Food Bank for New York City, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through fundraising, raising awareness for important societal issues, and encouraging volunteerism. Its work with Lifetime in mentoring girls is particularly noteworthy, as the network provides online and on-air resources to motivate the next generation of women to aspire to senior leadership positions at school and eventually in the workplace.  

Discovery Impact is Discovery's corporate social responsibility arm, and through its numerous programs, it encourages employees to help improve local communities worldwide through volunteerism at homeless shelters, schools, community centers, and rebuilding parks and waterways. "Discover Your Impact Day" is the organization's annual event where over 4,000 of Discovery employees go out into the communities at the same time to volunteer for a day. Discovery also funds a multitude of education programs around the world through the Discovery Learning Alliance. 

Food Network has partnered with Share Our Strength since 2007 to support the No Kid Hungry program, which provides meals and raises awareness to eliminate childhood hunger. The network has funded 6.7 million meals with the program, and exemplifies Scripps' commitment to ensuring children receive healthy food and nourishment every day. 

ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Awards both celebrate and fund programs that use sports to uplift underserved communities. Each year, ESPN grants $1 million to the charities and groups that are either nominated or take home an award at the event. The organization's support for cancer research, particularly for the Cancer Research V Foundation, and its work with nonprofits to foster physical development, also goes back over 10 years.  

Cartoon Network's Stop Bullying: Speak Up initiative creates and shares videos and content that emphasize empathy, acceptance, and appreciation of people who are different. For the past eight years, the network has devoted resources to this campaign to help teachers and students prevent bullying and raise awareness about mental health.

Nickelodeon launched a year-long "That's Me" multimedia campaign earlier this year, which uses dedicated themed months to teach kids about different cultures, backgrounds, and heritages. The network rolled out the campaign throughout its on-air and digital channels to focus on spreading positive messages about diversity and inclusion as part of its anti-bullying efforts. 

MTV's Look Different campaign, which began in 2014, uses social media as a forum for teens to discuss tough issues like racial, gender, and LGBTQ inequality. The campaign educates kids on hidden biases and how to identify discrimination in different situations.