Most people have heard about the incredible good being done on daytime television by personalities like Ellen DeGeneres, but there's another fairy godmother bestowing money and publicity unto those doing good things in the world. Through her daily chat fest on The Meredith Vieira Show, Meredith shines the spotlight on countless individuals and organizations on the frontlines of making a difference in the world.
I first noticed this during her premiere week this past Fall when she featured the Alzheimer's Association and gave them $100,000. While incredibly generous and attention getting, I was concerned that such positive content might just be a launch stunt. But, I'm happy to say I was wrong.
Almost daily, you can tune in and catch Meredith or one of her guests talking about a cause near and dear to their hearts. While the stories they discuss are often filled with pain, Meredith is always sure to present the material in an appropriate and non-exploitative way. And, she certainly has fun ways of surprising and honoring good-doers, often times with cash and other gifts.
One organization to benefit from Meredith's generosity of spirit was PALS Programs, which provides a place for young adults with Down syndrome and their peers to have fun, grow as individuals, and build transformative friendships. Meredith devoted 12 minutes - which in television is a remarkable length of time - to talking about PALS. She introduced viewers to her son who has volunteered with the organization, as well as to PALS Executive Director Jenni Newbury Ross and individuals who benefit from PALS programs.
I recently asked Newbury Ross what impact being featured on the show had on PALS. She responded, "The greatest impact of the Meredith show was exposure. We received hundreds of emails from individuals both inside and outside the Down syndrome community who otherwise would never have heard about PALS. It helped us to grow our reach and also to connect with many parents of new babies with Down syndrome who were watching the show and learned that we were out there with a message to share from our campers."
In addition to Down syndrome, Meredith has brought attention to dozens of people and nonprofits working in a wide range of areas, including: autism, multiple sclerosis, adoption, animal rescue, veterans services, hunger, children's issues, homelessness and many others. And, thanks to likeminded and savvy partners, the show has given away hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts to help ensure good work continues to happen.
It is refreshing to see Meredith Vieira bring such hope and positivity to the world. Without her, these stories would go untold and we would all miss out on an opportunity to learn and be inspired.
As Newbury Ross put it, "by highlighting individuals doing good, Meredith not only helps those individuals be in the spotlight, but demonstrates that we as humans need to recognize and support the kindness happening around the world."
About Brad Jamison:
Brad Jamison is an award-winning professional who has built a career combining his love of media and passion for helping others. He spent more than seven years as VP of Corporate Initiatives for Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG). In that role, he provided vision and leadership for the strategic development, implementation and sponsorship of pro-social efforts. As an executive and humanitarian, he leveraged the power of television to increase awareness, raise millions of dollars, encourage involvement and, above all, make a difference in the lives of others.
Currently, Brad is working on his new book: Soul Serving: How Helping Others Will Change Your Life. It is a collection of stories from people who share how giving back to their communities has deeply impacted the way they see the world and lead their lives. If you'd like to support him, you can check out his Kickstarter page here: www.bit.ly/SoulServing