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Univision Promotes “Access for All” with Community Empowerment Programs

By CSRWire Blogs

Submitted by Kelly Eisenhardt

By focusing on four areas most critical for success – education, health, prosperity, and civic engagement – Univision is empowering the Hispanic community by providing families life-changing access to information, programs and services.

Jessica Herrera-Flanigan is the Executive Vice President of Government & Corporate Affairs at Univision Communications, Inc. (UCI). In her role, she oversees the Washington, D.C., office of UCI, as well as the Company's community empowerment and corporate social responsibility functions. She leads the Company's efforts to enhance UCI’s presence among policymakers, community partners, legislators, influencers, and stakeholders and develops strategies to address the public policy issues impacting the Company and its audiences. Herrera-Flanigan has long been an influential member of the Hispanic community, having served as president of the Hispanic Bar Association of D.C. and regional vice president for the Hispanic National Bar Association. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the TV Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Board of the U.S. Center for Safe Sport.

What prompted Univision to release its first CSR report?

Corporate social responsibility has been part of our DNA for more than 60 years, since our first station opened in San Antonio. Our mission has always been to inform, entertain, and empower Hispanic America. "Access for All" and the accompanying video captures how, working with our partners and the community, we bring our mission to life. They showcase how we’ve integrated our values of integrity, collaboration, innovation, diversity, service and excellence into everything we do. The video tells our story and the profound impact we have had on our audiences not through our words but through the powerful visuals and testimonials of those we influence and empower. 

Why is connecting deeply with community so important? 

Connecting with community is the backbone of our Company and our brand — Univision was created to serve Hispanic America and as the face of the country has changed, so have we. We aim to inform, empower, and bring people together. Inherently, that is what CSR is about. We’ve focused on this throughout our history; even before CSR had a name or was socially important.

Our work is based on one of the most unique and cherished relationships in corporate America – an unparalleled connection to the Hispanic community. Our community trusts us- and we do not take that lightly. With our audiences overwhelmingly and consistently associating us with qualities such as trust, pride, value, loyalty, and responsibility, we are about bringing information, entertainment and access to the communities that need us most. With our CSR report we’ve been able to collect data and illustrate with tangible examples, stories and facts that speak to the depth and scope of Univision’s impact in a format we can share with the world. Our CSR report brings together what we’ve done, our insights, and the status of initiatives we’ve launched across our community base. 

How does your company promote diversity, inclusion, and professional development amongst employees? 

Univision continues to believe in the importance of serving Hispanic America and the growing multicultural and young, diverse audiences we call the rising American mainstream. We have been committed to supporting diversity across all facets of our business since the beginning. From employee recruitment, to content diversity, to community empowerment, Univision has infused a commitment to diversity into its everyday operations and overarching strategy for business success.

Within our company, a large focus is on inclusion and development. UCI celebrates diversity by supporting Employee Impact Groups (EIG), programs and initiatives that promote inclusion such as the Women’s Leadership Council, a company-wide program representing women at UCI who are breaking the mold, redefining leadership and inspiring others. Also making a difference are initiatives including Orgullo|Pride@UCI – an employee impact group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and their allies. Finally, emerge – UCI’s millennial employee resource group focused on empowering young talent to grow into the next generation of UCI leaders. 

In what way is Univision a catalyst for Hispanics in the media industry and in the world?

Today, diverse communities define the fabric of our country, which is why Univision has been committed to meeting the needs of diverse millennial and multicultural audiences championing a more inclusive America.

To make an impact directly in the communities we serve, just this past January we were proud to inaugurate the Univision Media Center at the New Venture Middle School in the Bronx, which enables kids to learn how media works and provides them with the tools and training needed to be involved. In April of this year we continued this initiative and broke ground on new Univision Media Centers in five middle schools across the country including Hernandez Middle School in Austin, TX, Para Los Niños Charter Middle School in Los Angeles, CA, Pulaski International School of Chicago in Chicago, Ill., Ruben Dario Middle School in Miami, Fla., and United for Success Academy in Oakland, Calif.

Also, earlier this year, we partnered with Grupo Televisa, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition in an effort to increase diversity in media and technology. Together we will work to encourage young people seeking careers in media or tech by creating production projects, incubator programs, entrepreneurial opportunities, school programs, and scholarships and fellowships. We have also supported writers' programs and programs to help students learn about the law and policies impacting the industry. 

How does your company advocate and contribute to education, health, prosperity, and civic matters? 

The Company’s powerful community-based empowerment platform Univision Contigo (Univision with You) focuses on providing resources and information along four pillar areas including education, health, prosperity, and civic engagement.

Our education program is a multi-year, multi-media initiative aimed to increase Hispanic educational attainment from early childhood, through high school and college readiness. The initiative raises awareness about the importance of postsecondary education and provides concrete tools and resources to help students achieve their academic and professional goals while providing resources and support for parents to be involved in their child’s academic and professional journey along the way. Univision’s education initiative is the nation’s longest-running education campaign on the air in any language, spanning across television, radio, digital and community events. In 2015, more than 40,000 attendees participated in Univision education fairs nationwide.

Our health campaign includes a variety of programs, including Camino a la Salud or “Road to Health” tour that serves more than twelve markets in the U.S. In 2015, our health fairs had more than 30,000 attendees with over 10,000 health screenings completed. Last year, we also raised $15.7 million for Teletón USA as well as $3 million for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Our Health initiative's cornerstone is "Reto28," a free digital tool with a 28-day nutritional diet plan and fitness challenge. More than 377,000 people have signed up for Reto28. Since its introduction in 2015, challenge participants have lost 238,840 pounds.

Within the communities we serve, there are often obstacles toward attaining financial prosperity. There can be a lack of awareness with regard to financial management skills. Our programs, including small business boot camps and prosperity fairs, teach people how to save money and qualify for loans, among other things. In 2015, more than 60,000 people attended prosperity fairs and town halls across the country.

Through our nonpartisan Civic Participation initiatives, Univision Contigo is taking strides to ensure Hispanic voters have access to the information they need to be heard in the electoral process. In February 2016, Univision unveiled the groundbreaking “Vote For Your America” campaign to engage multicultural, millennial and Hispanic voters. The effort includes the first-ever “Vote For Your America” Digital Election Guide, a Bilingual Text Message Tool, on-air and multiplatform messaging, and hundreds of local events leveraging 126 local TV and radio stations. Univision Contigo is also proactively helping eligible Latinos become citizens through the “Hazte Ciudadano” campaign that, in turn, allows them to play an integral role in the U.S. democracy.

Anyone wishing to review the voting guides can go online to www.YourAmerica.com and check out the toolkit. The whole process is documented. It tells citizens how to register, how to apply for absentee ballots, all in a digital guide. Additionally, we’ve launched a series of PSAs to encourage people to get out and vote. We’re very excited about this effort to energize and empower young, Hispanic and multicultural communities. 

What can people focus on in their own companies to broaden diversity and inclusion in their own company and how can they learn more about Univision’s work? 

It’s most important to build relationships within the communities you want to serve. Building trust and engaging the communities to work with you is critical. Through our Access for All report and video, we hope that people get a glimpse at the heart of what Univision truly stands for and the role we play with our communities across the country.

(Photo: Jessica Herrera-Flanigan)