MTV Launches Online Community to Make Good Youth Famous

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NEW YORK, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- MTV, along with founding partners the Case Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Goldhirsh Foundation and MCJ Amelior Foundation, today launched a new movement in youth activism: Think.MTV.com. Born from MTV's long-standing commitment to inform and engage young people on issues that affect them most, the Think Community aims to be the definitive online resource and rally point for young change makers. Launched in beta today, Think.MTV.com is a place where everyone from sunny day volunteers to die hard activists can Get Educated, Get Connected, Get Heard, Get Active and Get Rewarded.

The seminal ThinkMTV study "Just Cause" revealed that young people care deeply about activism: 80 percent say that taking action to help their community and others is important and the right thing to do; yet only 19% percent describe themselves as "very involved." Respondents were very concerned about the challenges that face their generation - from personal issues like sexual health, discrimination, and education, to global concerns such as the environment, terrorism, poverty, and immigration - but many weren't sure where to turn or how to get involved. Think.MTV.com will help mobilize these young people with new tools of engagement (mobile phones, online forums, broadband video, digital cameras, etc.), thereby narrowing the "activation gap" and making it much easier to become informed and take action.

"The Think Community was built to catalyze a sea change in youth activism and make rock stars out of those young people working to better themselves, their communities and the world," said Christina Norman, President, MTV. "We're honored to partner with forward-thinking foundations, non-profits, celebrities and America's youth on this powerful new platform for positive social change."

"In a nation where most young people either dropout or graduate from high school unprepared for college and work, it's critical we offer youth the opportunities, tools and resources to succeed and achieve their goals," said Allan Golston, President of US Programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "MTV is an important partner in our drive to ensure that every young person is prepared for college, career and life, and the new Think Community will galvanize this effort - offering all young people opportunities to connect to an inspiring and engaging world beyond their own school or community."

Added Jean Case, CEO, the Case Foundation, "We're excited to join with MTV and the other founding partners in creating a powerful new civic space where youth can embrace and apply leading edge technologies to ignite engagement and drive action."

Think.MTV.com is an online community where the biggest names in pop culture, as well as top non-profits and civic organizations, can join forces with young people to address pressing social issues. Those who already are using or will use the site to stimulate youth activism include the United Nations, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Malaria No More, Strong American Schools, the President's Volunteer Service Award, Declare Yourself, City Year, PlayPumps and Games for Change, as well as Bono, Reggie Bush, Pete Wentz, Shakira, Nick Cannon, Rosario Dawson, John Legend, Steve Nash, Jeff Sachs and many more. Members who use the site to do good will be rewarded with opportunities such as hanging out with the aforementioned stars, access to exclusive MTV events, exposure on MTV and other national media outlets, plus grants, scholarships and more. Think.MTV.com enables all young people to:

* Get Educated - The Think community is dynamic and loaded with multimedia content uploaded from members, ThinkMTV and MTV News. A diverse mix of videos, blogs, socially conscious video games, podcasts, news reports and pictures helps the uninformed quickly come up-to-speed on complex issues and the hyper-literate stay up-to-date on breaking news. * Get Connected - Think.MTV.com is a national crossroads where young change makers can leverage their collective talents to amplify their impact. Members can align in "Think Tanks" by interests, skills, geography and more to advance the issues they care about most - from global to local. * Get Heard - The Think site is a platform for all young people to make their voices heard, serving as a powerful megaphone for a generation that grew up self-publishing. Unlike any other online community, content posted on the site will have the chance to bubble up to MTV's other online and mobile platforms, even MTV, which reaches more than 90 million subscribers in the US. Beginning later this fall, every video, photo or conversation a user contributes will also earn Action Badges, which can be redeemed for prizes, national exposure and more. -- Action Badges - Actions taken online or in the real world translate to Action Badges, a new feature launching within the next two months, which will enhance a user's profile, unlock new community features and result in honors and prizes (see below). * Get Active - Think.MTV.com offers young people simple ways to take action on key social issues, including registering to vote, petitioning congress, volunteering or starting a divestment movement. Further, the Think Community enables "do-it-yourself" activism, serving as a framework any participant can use to start or join an Action Project. -- Action Projects - Developed by celebrities, leading social activists or young people, Action Projects will launch later this fall and take aim at everything from fixing broken street lamps to ending world hunger - and make it easy for anyone to join in and help. * Get Rewarded - In a first for social activism, Think.MTV.com leverages the power of MTV's brand, reach and partnerships to offer powerful rewards to members who use the site to do good. One of the first examples is the Young Creators Award, a partnership with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which will give grants totaling $500,000 to young people (under 25) with innovative ideas on how digital journalism can strengthen community ties. Other future examples may include tickets to the VMAs for helping offset a community's carbon footprint, exposure on MTV News for developing a pro-social video game, or scholarships for stimulating youth voter registration efforts. The possibilities are endless.

 

Members of the Think Community can take their profiles and friends with them to any site in MTV Networks' recently announced Flux Network, an open platform enabling websites and bloggers to add community tools to their sites. Think.MTV.com is live now and MTV invites all young people to sign up, build a profile and begin contributing. The site will be the engine that drives all current and future MTV pro-social efforts, including the Emmy-winning "Choose or Lose" campaign on the presidential election, award-winning "Break the Addiction" campaign to help reduce over consumption, "It's Your (Sex) Life" campaign to promote safe sex and fight the spread of HIV / AIDS, the network's education initiative to help more high school students graduate prepared for college, career and life, as well as MTV Tr3s' "Voces" campaign, launched specifically to help empower young Latinos to get the most out of their education.

The Think Community was built with the help of financial support and expertise from founding partners the Case Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Goldhirsh Foundation and MCJ Amelior Foundation. The founding partners will serve as key advisors and help bring "Best In Class" non-profit organizations into the Think Community, which will engage members through on and offline action projects and educational content. Additionally, through partnerships between ThinkMTV and MTV's affiliate distribution partners nationwide, the network and its partners hope to inspire youth activism across the country, one local community at a time.

About the Case Foundation

The Case Foundation was created by Steve Case and Jean Case in 1997. The Foundation invests in individuals, nonprofits and social enterprises that connect people, increase giving and catalyze civic action. For more information please visit www.casefoundation.org.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co- chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About the Goldhirsh Foundation

The Goldhirsh Foundation was established by Bernard A. Goldhirsh in 2000, shortly after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Since his death in 2003, the Board of Directors of the Foundation has been shaping a grantmaking program that reflects his values and entrepreneurial spirit. We are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people touched by the organizations and projects we support. Beginning in 2006, the Board of the Goldhirsh Foundation has invited project proposals from various social entrepreneurial ventures. These investments are made at the initiative of the Foundation. In addition, the Foundation supports social and educational programs that reflect the commitments of the Goldhirsh family, also at the Board's initiative.

About the MCJ Amelior Foundation

Founded in 1983, The MCJ Amelior Foundation supports organizations that are committed to help those less fortunate by promoting harmony and understanding, furthering education and workplace skills, and improving the overall quality of life. More specifically, the foundation assists those entities that encourage mentoring relationships, are creating unique entrepreneurial opportunities, and promoting national and local participation in voluntary community programs and services.

MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom , is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. MTV Networks, with more than 130 channels worldwide, owns and operates the following television programming services - MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, VH1, mtvU, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN, VH1 CLASSIC, LOGO, MTVN INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 13 digital services, all of which are trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks connects with its audiences through its robust consumer products businesses and its more than 200 interactive properties worldwide, including online, broadband, wireless and interactive television services. The network also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.