Comcast Today: Comcast Announces Two New Charitable Efforts

Altruism? Or cynicism? Does it matter?

It is perhaps unfair to Comcast that every step it takes — even some of its most altruistic and community-minded — will always be viewed in some quarters as an effort to accrue power and profit, particularly when the company is in the midst of securing a high-profile merger. That’s not going to keep the company from actually being charitable on occasion, however.

Today, the company announced two such efforts. LIFT  will create “Comcast and NBCUniversal Digital Literacy Learning Hubs” in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., aimed at helping at least 13,000 low-income adults improve their tech skills and improve their employability; Comcast is spending $1.3 million on the effort.

Second is a $3.7 million grant to The Arc, a foundation that advocates for people with disabilities. The support will take the form of on-air public service ads, as well as additional money to create the Digital Literacy Learning Hubs in major U.S. cities.

“By forging partnerships like these with LIFT and The Arc, it is our goal to continue to bring technology, and the doors it opens, to populations that are all too often left outside the digital mainstream,” Charisse Lille, president of Comcast Foundation, said in a blog post announcing the efforts. “Doing so reflects our commitment to bringing the best of what’s next to all of the communities we serve.

Critics have suggested Comcast uses its charitable arm to promote its business interests. The company has denied the accusation.