Lawyers Alliance Honors Viacom Law Department for Pro Bono Efforts

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Thousands of Viacom employees recently spread out across the world to clean, paint, plant and sand the nonprofit organizations at the heart of their communities. The mass effort was part of the 21st Viacommunity Day, an annual outpouring of goodwill that underscores the company’s commitment to social responsibility. But while many employees were flexing unfamiliar muscles that day, a group of company lawyers stationed on the 31st floor of the company’s Times Square headquarters unsheathed their legal skills to staff an intake clinic for foreign citizens beginning the U.S. naturalization process.

It was a moving scene – people with few resources, intimidated by language and cultural barriers, comprehending for the first time that they could move toward citizenship – but not at all unusual for Viacom’s Law team, which devotes considerable resources to pro bono work each year.

Because of this deep commitment to helping those in need, Viacom Law earned a spot as a distinguished honoree at the Lawyers Alliance for New York’s 2017 Business Law & Leadership Gala. The annual event – held this year at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall – honors businesses and individuals committed to improving New York City by offering pro bono services to nonprofit organizations.

“The Viacom Law Department is a leader in the corporate pro bono bar,” Lawyers Alliance noted in their press release announcing the gala. “Under Christa D’Alimonte, Viacom’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, the Viacom Law Department continues to make pro bono legal services a priority for its attorneys.”

D’Alimonte stressed the importance of pro bono work to Viacom in general and to the Law team in particular. “The Law Department’s commitment to pro bono work is fundamental to our culture and core values, and reflects Viacom’s commitment to contribute to the communities in which we work and live,” she said.

Lawyers possess a specialized and highly valued skillset, one that is essential for the proper functioning of society but is often opaque and inaccessible to those who need it the most. “We know that now, perhaps more than ever, our legal skills can be used to help those in need who cannot afford the costs of legal representation – which is a right that should be available to all, and not a privilege reserved for some,” said D’Alimonte.

The legal team works throughout the year to extend this right, collaborating with organizations serving low-income individuals and communities in need. The company has a particularly strong relationship with Lawyers Alliance, partnering with them on legal clinics in each of the past five years. Working through the organization, Viacom connects with nonprofits that need counseling to navigate new state legal requirements or to handle bylaw and governance issues. A recent series of pro bono legal clinics gathered attorneys from Viacom and other in-house legal departments to train nonprofits on waiver and release reviews.

That the Law Department can spare the resources for pro bono work is a reflection of the team’s overall strength. Last year, Corporate Counsel, a leading source of legal news, named Viacom to its list of best corporate legal departments.

Viacom Wins Social Good Category at 9th Annual Shorty Awards With Innovative Get Schooled Campaign

“Want to get that paper? You better turn in that paper.”

 – DJ Khaled, Major Keys Campaign

Since 2009, Viacom and Get Schooled have worked to motivate low-income students to graduate from high school and succeed in college, using cutting-edge technology and pop culture to pique kids’ interest in academia. One of Get Schooled’s most recent endeavors, a PSA called Major Keys Campaign that stars music mogul, DJ Khaled, won the Social Good Category—beating out 48 other entries—at the prestigious Shorty Awards, which honor talented content creators and producers on social media.

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BET, VH1 Win NAMIC Awards for Telling Diverse, Authentic Stories

Whose stories are being told on television? Now, more than ever, they’re our viewers’—their lives, experiences, and individual triumphs and hardships.

The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) Vision Awards honor original TV programming that reflects the diversity of its audience.

NAMIC announced this year’s winners on Monday, April 24. Thirteen shows from three Viacom networks, including BET, VH1, and Nickelodeon, were nominated for awards. Out of these nominations, three programs—including BET’s Being Mary Jane, Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement and VH1’s Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens won their respective categories.

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Unity Spans the Globe for Viacommunity Day’s 21st Year

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Lisa Di Venuta contributed reporting.

In an enormous show of support for local communities around the world, more than 4,000 Viacom employees threw themselves into the 21st annual Viacommunity Day last Friday. It was themed as a day of unity, bringing employees from every part of the company together at more than 150 projects sites across the United States and more than a dozen other nations, a collective effort that underscored Viacom’s unwavering dedication to putting our resources, skills, energies and collective will toward improving our communities.

“Viacommunity has a long legacy with our company,” said Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish, standing among a group of employees outside of a Boys & Girls Club in New Rochelle, 20 miles north of Times Square in the New York City suburbs. “I remember when I joined the company in 1997 in the early days of Viacommunity, and it’s always been a day, throughout different management teams, throughout different phases of the media business, where we would take a day and allow people to give back to their communities. This is all evidence that communities matter. That’s what Viacommunity is all about.”

 

Viacommunity Day 2017 Recap Video from Viacom on Vimeo.

Support for the effort transcended our employee ranks, reaching into the celebrity Twittersphere:

Events began early in the morning, spreading west from our outposts in Asia and Australia and following the sun across Europe and Africa and then jumping the Atlantic. The Viacommunity spirit rippled from the five boroughs of New York City and across the suburbs, west to Tennessee and finally California, where Paramount locked in the Viacommunity Day Cup for the second consecutive year.

Below is just a small sampling of the energy, enthusiasm, and effort that our volunteers injected into their communities over the course of a single day.

A Viacom employee gets psyched for Viacommunity Day 2017 in front of Viacom's Times Square headquarters.

A Viacom employee gets psyched for Viacommunity Day 2017 in front of 1515 Broadway.

CALIFORNIA – Paramount Repeats as Viacommunity Day Cup Champions

With the highest percentage of employees participating in Viacommunity Day out of any Viacom division, Paramount locked in the Viacommunity Day Cup for the second consecutive year. Employees had spent the past 12 months passing their prize around, Stanley Cup style, with different groups holding the trophy for a week at a time. Taking the cup again is a testament to how deeply entrenched the Viacommunity spirit is on the lot, where longstanding relationships with local schools and organizations fuse with individual efforts to create an atmosphere rich with giving.

The Fulfillment Fund

The commitment was evident on Paramount’s Hollywood lot on Friday morning, when a bus pulled in to pick up more than two dozen employee volunteers. It was already loaded with 25 students and four chaperones from Alexander Hamilton High School in west Los Angeles. They were headed six miles south, beneath the 10 freeway and to the campus of the University of Southern California (USC). On a separate bus, 25 Viacom employees were heading in the same direction from the company’s shiny new Hollywood building, stopping to pick up an additional 17 students from Helen Bernstein High School before rendezvousing at the university.

The Fulfillment Fund, an organization that focuses on orienting high-risk students toward college, was way ahead of both groups. They’d set up a unique tour: a campus-wide scavenger hunt for groups of students and volunteer mentors to navigate together. What’s the name of the campus bookstore? Which year was the arts building dedicated? Which years did USC football win the Rose Bowl? Four versions of the hunt helped to disperse the laughing, giddy students across the hot campus and avoid overcrowding at any one site.

Among the Viacom and Paramount volunteers were seven USC alumni and at least two graduates of Hamilton High School. Site captain Lori Nakama, a director of creative services for digital and television distribution in home media who was participating in her seventh Viacommunity Day, was among them.

“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” she said. “I love getting to work with people in the company that I don’t normally get to talk to. We’re so busy here that, a lot of times, I don’t leave my desk. So I don’t get to meet somebody who works in theatrical, or in finance, or in theatrical finance. So at Viacommunity Day, you not only are building a community within the community, but a community within the company.”

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Check It Out: An Interactive Calendar of Viacom’s Q3 2017 Premieres

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Viacom’s brands continue to deliver incredible programming. As we look back and report Q2 2017 earnings today, you can click along the timeline below for previews of the rich future awaiting our fans. Click over to Viacom Investor Relations for more details about this quarter’s earnings.