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Special Project

Special Project

NBCUniversal's Creative Impact Lab

Entered in Storytelling


NBCUniversal’s Creative Impact Lab has set out to achieve three principal goals: 1) grow the pipeline of diverse creative talent to contribute toward a more inclusive and representative media landscape 2) help nonprofit partners illustrate their impact in our communities, and 3) create a rewarding opportunity for our employees to share their storytelling skills by serving as mentors on Creative Impact Lab projects. Here is how the Lab works:  

NBCUniversal provides grants to nonprofit creative agencies that employ apprentices from under-represented communities. NBCU commissions these agencies to develop marketing assets for NBCU’s portfolio of nonprofit partners, with creative guidance from our employee mentors. The final assets help our nonprofit partners increase awareness for their missions, advance their funding goals and scale growth. 30-second public service announcements created in the Lab are featured on the networks and platforms of NBCUniversal and Comcast. 


NBCUniversal’s Corporate Social Responsibility team connected with the Alliance for Media Arts & Culture (a nonprofit association that created Arts@Work, the first federally registered paid apprenticeship program in the creative economy) to help identify nonprofit creative agencies that employ diverse apprentices, such as Wide Angle Youth Media, PhillyCAM, re:imagine and Reel Works. After meeting with each nonprofit creative agency, a dozen were selected to apply for grants. Simultaneously, 50 employee volunteers who work in creative roles across NBCU were recruited to serve as mentors on a newly formed “Creative Council.” The plan was to match each of our creative agency nonprofit partners with a client from our existing portfolio of nonprofit partners and assign 3 Creative Council members to act as mentors on each project. We conducted a pilot project in September 2022, commissioning the creative nonprofit Youth Design Center to create a video for nonprofit partner Minds Matter LA, with guidance from an NBCU mentor. The result was a beautifully told story that shines a light on Minds Matter’s impact on young students from under-resourced communities. The program was greenlit, and we have completed storytelling projects for 12 of our nonprofit partners. A total of 25 diverse apprentices have had a chance to meaningfully contribute to these projects, with opportunities to receive mentoring in addition to creative feedback from NBCU mentors. We are also leveraging NBCU and parent company Comcast’s broad reach by running the final spots created in the Creative Impact Lab across our networks and online platforms, resulting in almost 4 million impressions to date on NBCU alone, a value of over $90K in donated on-air inventory. As with most new initiatives, we’ve experienced some growing pains along the way. One obstacle was our nonprofit agency partners’ concern that while NBCUniversal mentors would have great experience to share, the creative process might be more cumbersome given additional cooks in the kitchen. To closely align the creative agencies and NBCUniversal mentors, the Corporate Social Responsibility team planned a full day in-person “Creative Impact Lab Workshop” in June 2023. The workshop allowed the mentors and creative agencies who will be working together on the next six projects to come together early in the process and learn best practices for storytelling and forming a strong mentor/mentee relationship.  The workshop was deemed a success by attendees and set a foundation for a more united creative partnership.  


Our grants to the nonprofit creative agencies enabled apprentices from diverse backgrounds to get on-the-job paid training experience that is not readily available in the industry. The apprentices also benefited from the mentorship of seasoned creative professionals at NBCU who are at the top of their profession. The creative agency partners have shared that this program has enhanced the confidence, competence and problem-solving abilities of their apprentices and opened their eyes to different roles in the business. The nonprofit clients are grateful for the gift of these marketing assets, as they do not have the expertise or resources to create high-quality marketing materials. The nonprofit clients are already benefiting from the on-air exposure for their organizations and have been using their videos to showcase their missions and their work at annual fundraising galas and events. After a spot for the nonprofit Cradles to Crayons ran during the women’s Notre Dame basketball game on NBC Sports, Cradles reported receiving an influx of inquiries about donations of children’s clothing.  Many of our employee volunteers have raised their hands to work on additional projects, highlighting the value they derived from serving as mentors in the Creative Impact Lab.  


Video for NBCUniversal's Creative Impact Lab

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