Community Impact

21st Century Solutions Grant Challenge Open for Submissions

Philadelphia, PA.

The NBCUniversal Foundation and NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations are partnering for the fifth annual 21st Century Solutions grant challenge, which celebrates and supports local non-profit organizations.

The goal of the grant program is to honor organizations that are embracing innovative solutions to advance community-based programs in the areas of civic engagement, education, environment, jobs and economic empowerment, media, and technology for good.

The 21st Century Solutions grant challenge submissions window opens on Monday, June 6 through Friday, August 26 and will award 30 grants totaling $1.2 million to local non-profit organizations in NBCUniversal Owned Television Station markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., Miami-Fort Lauderdale, San Diego and Connecticut.

"NBCUniversal and our NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations are in a unique position with the 21st Century Solutions program to engage and recognize local organizations across the country for innovative thinking that really drives these communities forward, said Beth Colleton, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, NBCUniversal.

"The 21st Century Solutions program supports local nonprofit organizations that are challenging conventional thinking and putting innovative ideas into action and I’m proud that our local stations are supporting this effort, which will help to make a positive impact in the communities our employees and viewers call home," said Valari Staab, President, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations.

One winner and two runners-up will be awarded grants in each market. Winners will be announced in late 2016.

Since the program’s inception in 2012, 21st Century Solutions has awarded approximately $4.8 million to 120 non-profits in the 10 markets. Last year’s grand prize winners, listed by theme, can be found below.

Media Arts & Technology

In New York, the Maysles Institute, a renowned documentary film institution founded by documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles received $100,000 for their Maysles Documentary Center's Community Producers Program. The initiative provides film education and professional development to court-involved youth and works in partnership with Arches Transformative Mentoring, part of New York City’s Department of Probation Young Men’s Initiative and the Center for Economic Opportunity.

Civic Engagement, Jobs and Economic Empowerment

A Place Called Home in Los Angeles received $100,000 for their Nutrition and Urban Agriculture Program, which partners with the Los Angeles Police Department to teach youth and the greater community how to garden and promote a greater sense of community within Southern Los Angeles with local officers. In addition to promoting healthier living and relationship building with local officers, the garden to table programs provide hands on experience as part of a vocational program that builds internships for students in a commercial kitchen.

Bethel New Life’s Innovation Center in Chicago received $50,000 to support their creative space for Chicago’s West Side residents, which provides a job training site, tech business launch pad, and maker space drop in club.

The Urban League of Greater Hartford in Connecticut received $50,000 for their partnership with the Hartford Police Department (HPD) to improve communication between minority youth and police, while building relationships of trust and mutual respect. Youth work with HPD to develop a series of community forums and public service announcements (PSAs).

Kiva Microfunds received $50,000 for their Kiva City Oakland program in the Bay Area. Kiva presents a solution to the barriers encountered by low- income entrepreneurs in accessing the capital needed to start or grow their business, and leverages technology to facilitate lending and provide loans underwritten by social capital. Kiva pioneered "social underwriting" so borrowers can demonstrate their existing trust network to qualify for a loan.

In South Florida, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) received $50,000 to support their StartUp for Success initiative, in partnership with eMerge Americas, a tech and entrepreneurship conference, to provide a platform for first-year NFTE students to present business plans to an elite panel of judges. StartUp for Success culminates in a pitch competition at eMerge Americas.


In Dallas- Fort Worth, Promise House received $50,000 for their recently launched School Drop-in Center Project, which partners with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) to operate six weekly drop-in centers for homeless students enrolled in DISD schools. Drop-in centers establish a frequent and consistent safe space for students in crisis in order to achieve their academic goals.

The Elementary Institute of Science (EIS) in San Diego launched EIS OUTPOST: Ocean and Earth Expedition Field Trips, a STEM education partnership between EIS, Diamond Neighborhood teachers and schools, and the University California San Diego Scripps Ocean Institute's STEM researchers to deliver Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) curriculum to local underserved students. The program received $50,000 for their continued work.

The Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop’s program From Prison to a Paycheck: "On the Job" Skill Building in Washington, DC received $50,000 for their work with young inmates to provide month-long paid apprenticeships to build literacy skills the youth developed through the prison book club and poetry program.


Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) of Philadelphia received $50,000 for their EnergyFIT Philly: Gentrification without Displacement by Preserving Affordable Housing program. The initiative preserves and stabilizes low-income homes, which helps to repair homes in poor condition. ECA combines energy conservation, health and safety treatments, education, and bill payment assistance services with home repair to reduce homeowners' maintenance and operating costs.

For more information on the grant or to apply, applicants should visit their local station site:

Bay Area



Dallas-Forth Worth

Los Angeles

New York


San Diego

South Florida

Washington, D.C.