A Telecom Funder Stays the Course in Pennsylvania

The comcast building in philadelphia. photo: Tupungato/shutterstock

The comcast building in philadelphia. photo: Tupungato/shutterstock

The Comcast Foundation is an important corporate funder to watch in Philadelphia because of its reliable support for nonprofits in its home region. In the wake of ongoing antitrust concerns and being passed over by Fox for a big buy-out in favor of Disney, Comcast maintains a steady show of giving, especially in the state of Pennsylvania.

The telecom provider’s foundation has been giving out around $20 million per year lately, bringing its overall giving total over $220 million since inception in June 1999. 

While many funders shift their strategies with the changing times, this one has chosen to stay the course and stick to what it knows best. The Comcast Foundation provides grants that improve access to technology, digital skills and training, and that inspire service and volunteerism. Last year, the funder gave $2.3 million to 52 Pennsylvania nonprofits in these three categories.

In response to a question about why the foundation focuses on just three categories, the foundation replied:

We believe that expanding digital literacy, promoting community service and building tomorrow’s leaders are three areas where we can make a real difference in local communities, particularly when augmented by volunteer time, promotional activities and other in-kind contributions by Comcast.

There’s been a big push lately within the foundation to support local leadership development programs for women and girls, especially ones who come from underserved inner-city communities. To this end, Comcast has been supporting multi-generational mentoring efforts in the state. Specifically in the city of Philadelphia, Comcast has been particularly interested in supporting workforce development, giving grants to groups like Congreso de Latinos Unidos' Education and Workforce program, an organization that provides youth and adult programs to increase academic and workplace success.

Other Philadelphia grants have recently gone to the Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, the Barnes Foundation of Philadelphia, ASPIRA Inc., Committee Seventy, Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. Philadelphia groups definitely come out on top in terms of Comcast’s Pennsylvania giving.

But while all of this localized support is certainly significant, it’s just one part of the Comcast Foundation’s overall nationwide giving strategy. Pennsylvania support made up just over 10 percent of the funder’s grantmaking in 2017.