NBCU Launches Creative Impact Lab to Open Industry Path to Diverse Hopefuls

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NBCUniversal hopes to help some people break into the media business who might not previously have found an easy path.

The Comcast-backed media conglomerate committed to help young people from diverse backgrounds break into the industry through the efforts of a new Creative Impact Lab, which aims to focus on non-profit storytelling and provide opportunities for apprentices from diverse backgrounds to hone their production skills.

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“It is critical for non-profits to visually illustrate their impact through personal, human stories,” said Hilary Smith, NBCU’s executive vice president of corporate social responsibility, in a prepared statement. “Powerful marketing can help drive recruitment and serve as a fundraising tool. By giving diverse students unique assignments to create these assets under NBCU employees’ mentorship, the Creative Impact Lab is providing value on multiple levels.”

As part of this effort, NBCUniversal has forged partnerships with numerous creative non-profit organizations across the U.S, which operate as agencies and are comprised of student apprentices from under-resourced communities, many of whom aspire to be filmmakers, producers, directors, editors, or writers. These include: Spy HopYouth Design Centerre:imagine/ATLPhillyCAMReel WorksYouth FXWide Angle Youth Media, and Free Sprit Media.

Each of the creative non-profits will receive a grant from NBCUniversal to produce short marketing videos and public service announcements for select NBCUniversal and Comcast non-profit partners, including Minds Matter Southern CaliforniaL.A. WorksAmerica On TechCradles to CrayonsCxmmunityStartOut, and Per Scholas Philadelphia.

One public-service announcement created as part of the effort was produced by NBCUniversal’s Creative non-profit partner, PhillyCAM – based in Philadelphia – for  Cradles to Crayons, a non-profit that seeks to fulfill the needs of clothing-insecure children.

These marketing assets will receive exposure on the platforms of Comcast NBCUniversal through advertising inventory and the companies’ digital and streaming platforms.

“Our success largely depends on our ability to communicate our impact. The Creative Impact Lab has given us the gift of storytelling, with high-quality content and promotion that will help us foster more access and equity in the tech sector,” said Jessica Santana, co-founder and CEO of America On Tech, in a statement.

The lab will also provide training and mentoring to the creative non-profits, thanks to NBCUniversal volunteers who will serve on the company’s newly formed “Creative Council.” Employees in creative roles across the business from news to sports to entertainment to ad sales have agreed to take part.

“The Creative Impact Lab has given our apprentices a truly meaningful assignment – to work under the guidance of NBCUniversal experts and have the opportunity to tell compelling stories about non-profit organizations that are making a positive difference,” said John Williams, co-founder and executive director of Reel Works, in a statement. “The entire experience is mutually beneficial, and we are grateful to be a part of this initiative.”

The Creative Impact Lab is a part of NBCUniversal’s corporate social responsibility brand Comcast NBCUnites. Through volunteerism, storytelling, and empowering the next generation of content creators from diverse backgrounds, Comcast NBCUnites supports NBCUniversal’s commitment to equity and access in society, the media industry, and within the company. Comcast NBCUnites partners with over 45 non-profits, and has engaged over 30,000 employees in volunteer opportunities and worked with over 18,000 students from under-resourced communities to date.

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