Going Beyond the Grant: The Impact of Spectrum Digital Education PSA Support
A former truck driver, mortgage broker and a retail worker learned to code with the help of LaunchCode and in turn helped the nonprofit organization personalize its mission in a powerful public service announcement (PSA) supported by Charter’s Spectrum Digital Education (SDE) program. Headquartered in St. Louis, LaunchCode offers 100% free coding classes to students from a variety of employment backgrounds interested in pursuing tech roles, and as a four-time SDE grantee, has deployed $110,000 in funding to offer more classes in more locations throughout Missouri. Spectrum’s SDE program provides financial support and national promotion through PSAs to organizations that offer broadband education, training and technology to communities within Charter’s 41-state footprint.
The PSA support is a critical component for nonprofits like LaunchCode, whose recent PSA campaign “Hire the Person, Not the Degree” drove national awareness of its work far beyond its home state. Using donated Spectrum advertising time to help scale results, the PSA was shot in dramatic black and white and featured three LaunchCode students who proudly share their personal coding journeys.
Watch the PSA here:
LaunchCode Conceived a Powerful PSA that Aired Nationally Across Spectrum’s Footprint
During the planning process, LaunchCode determined its creative goal for the PSA was to promote its brand mission – 100% free training for high tech careers. “We wanted to take viewers on a journey with students before and after the training program, demonstrating the possibilities of an entirely different career pathway,” said Leah Freeman, Vice President of Strategic Communications for LaunchCode. “It’s inspiring to hear how these students changed their lives by learning a new skill leading to a higher salary.”
To do that, they set out to personalize their mission using students and their stories. Since 2019, LaunchCode has received nearly $6 million in PSA support from Spectrum, enabling multiple campaigns to scale, including the "Hire the Person, Not the Degree" campaign.
“It’s honestly incredible the amount of reach it enables us to have,” said Freeman. “As a small nonprofit, operating on a nonprofit budget we’d never have access to that kind of airtime and national reach without this grant.”
How PSA Support Works in the Spectrum Digital Education Program
Spectrum supplies free air time for SDE partners in markets where it runs advertisements, and grantees can access PSA support by submitting a pre-produced 15- or 30-second video. Grantees work within broad guidelines to determine a PSA’s content; which ideally includes a call to action. The spots can air for up to five months in English and Spanish.
For example, after airing two different PSAs, LaunchCode leaders say they have extended and increased brand awareness reaching a national audience with their marketing campaign. “It’s a valuable asset we can provide our staff to broadly promote our program across a variety of platforms,” explained Freeman. “The expanded audience potential allows us to connect an employer in California with a LaunchCoder in Missouri, Kansas or elsewhere.”
Over the past six years, Spectrum has committed a total investment of more than $8 million in direct financial support for Spectrum Digital Education, plus the opportunity for PSA airtime. Grantees use the funding for a variety of needs such as expanding online training programs, purchasing software to make technology more accessible for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and combating isolation among older adults.
Click here for more information on Spectrum Digital Education.