Just in time for the holiday season, CBS Cares — the network’s public service announcement initiative launched in 2000 — has given the gift of star power and a sizable television audience to the non-profit “I Have A Dream” Foundation (IHDF), which works to ensure that all children have the opportunity, support and resources to pursue higher education.
The foundation was launched in 1986 by businessman Eugene M. Lang, who had returned to speak at his East Harlem elementary school after 50 years and learned that three-quarters of the school’s students would struggle to finish high school. On the spot, Lang decided to offer college tuition to every sixth grader who stayed the course and graduated. He told the kids about seeing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington and encouraged them to honor and believe in their own dreams.
Lang personally invested himself in the success of his “Dreamers” and three decades later, more than 200 “I Have A Dream” programs have served some 17,000 deserving students in the U.S. and New Zealand. The foundation has also worked with other organizations to further its mission to give a college education to every child who wants it.
At the end of November, CBS launched Christmas and Hanukkah-themed public service announcements featuring some of its most popular stars — The Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik and NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J online and on CBS stations across the country.
Past CBS Cares campaigns have tackled alcohol abuse, Alzheimer’s disease, the arts, autism, bipolar disorder, breast cancer, cervical cancer, child abduction, child advocacy, children’s health, colon cancer, depression, disaster relief, diversity and tolerance, drug abuse, epilepsy, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, holocaust remembrance and many more health and social service issues.
The “I Have A Dream” Foundation/CBS Cares campaign will continue into 2016 and feature Luis Guzmán (Code Black), Téa Leoni (Madam Secretary), Chi McBride (Hawaii Five-O), Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds), Jeff Probst (Survivor), Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods) and other CBS stars.
“These powerful CBS Cares PSAs shine a light on the urgent need to increase access to higher education for children from low-income communities,” said Donna A. Lawrence, President and CEO of the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation in a statement. “The campaign will boost the visibility of IHDF’s work and help break the cycle of poverty for thousands of families across the country, making the dream of a college education a reality for their children.”
“The ‘I Have A Dream’ Foundation impacts diversity and education, two top priorities for the CBS Corporation,” added Josie Thomas, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, CBS Corporation. “This collaboration is an opportunity that will help increase awareness and further the Foundation’s crucial mission of providing long-term support programs aimed at increasing high school graduation and college completion for students in under-resourced public schools.
Find out more about the I Have A Dream Foundation and how you can help give kids the gift of a promising future this holiday season and beyond, visit http://www.ihaveadreamfoundation.org/.