Angel Awards: Nonprofit of the Year, Vegas PBS

Christel Deskins

As a member-supported public television service, Vegas PBS has always focused on its mission to provide educational content through award-winning children’s programming, such as the science and nature shows “NOVA” and “Nature,” trusted news and current events programs like “NewsHour” and “FRONTLINE,” and locally produced documentaries celebrating our unique city. […]

As a member-supported public television service, Vegas PBS has always focused on its mission to provide educational content through award-winning children’s programming, such as the science and nature shows “NOVA” and “Nature,” trusted news and current events programs like “NewsHour” and “FRONTLINE,” and locally produced documentaries celebrating our unique city. Their work keeps our community connected, informed and inspired – and has for over 50 years.

“Vegas PBS’ focus on truly local issues allows us to fully serve the community in ways commercial interests cannot match,” said Tom Axtell, general manager of Vegas PBS.

When schools unexpectedly closed due to COVID-19, Vegas PBS immediately launched a collection of services to support families with school-aged children now forced to keep their children on an educational routine while at home. Among these services included a radical alteration to their daytime TV lineup to offer preschool through high school-level educational programming, paired with curriculum guides available online and at food distribution sites for parents, caregivers and educators.

The station’s rapid-response initiative earned over 15 million program instructional sessions during the 15 weeks of school closures and another 2 million views online. It also leveraged its reach to the community by broadcasting 150 public service announcements a week for over a dozen nonprofit and government organizations offering food, legal or financial assistance, public health and safety services.

In addition to expanding online to provide digital educational resources for teachers, parents and students, Vegas PBS also enacted its workforce initiatives to connect Southern Nevadans with career opportunities and training resources to diversify the local economy and empower Las Vegans – something greatly needed in a city hit with devastating job loss due to the pandemic.

“Hyper-local service reflects the city’s DNA as a hospitality destination,” Axtell said. “As a nonprofit serving this local community, supported by members who live here, we strive to focus our initiatives on the unique needs of Southern Nevadans.” 

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