Pioneering nonprofit’s comic books and educational tools defy stereotypes, drive media literacy and empower young people
Grant Thornton providing funding assistance, business advice and volunteer support
CHICAGO — Grant Thornton LLP has named Weird Enough Productions as the fifth nonprofit in its Purple Paladin initiative — a program that helps emerging nonprofit organizations move from start-up to sustainable by providing funding, business advice and volunteer support, while also helping them share their stories more broadly.
Weird Enough Productions is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that develops free, interactive online content designed to combat media misrepresentations of minority communities. The organization is best known for its hallmark comic book series, The UnCommons.
The UnCommons tells the story of five unlikely outsiders who must save each other to save the world. Beyond diverse racial and gender representation, The UnCommons spotlights the human imperfections of its heroes and celebrates how superpowers like vulnerability and courage save the day. Readers can also explore Weird Enough HQ, which features message boards, contests and more.
Weird Enough Productions also partners with educators nationwide through Get Media L.I.T. — which pairs The UnCommons comic series with lesson plans and curricula to help teach students social-emotional learning, media literacy and digital citizenship.
In the wake of COVID-19, online schooling and racial-equality protests, Weird Enough Productions is reaching students at a moment when they need it most.
The nonprofit was started by Tony Weaver, Jr. when he was in college. As a then 20-year-old comic book aficionado, Weaver was inspired to start the organization after mentoring a Black fourth-grade student. The student shared Tony’s love of superheroes, but the student was not going to dress as one for Halloween because he felt none of them looked like him.
It got Weaver thinking: “Young people look up to superheroes for inspiration, but what message do we send kids when the superheroes they celebrate don’t look the same way they do?”
Weaver continued: “My dream is to get our content in the hands of young people across the country so they can become the heroes of their own stories. Grant Thornton will be a great collaborator in broadening our reach and I am very grateful for the firm’s support.”
Grant Thornton CEO Brad Preber shares Weaver’s sentiment: “Helping America’s children overcome racial inequities will require energy, entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. That is exactly what Weird Enough Productions brings to the table. The organization is a testament to the idea that everyone — regardless of race, gender or background — can be a hero for positive change when they are empowered and supported. And that’s what our Purple Paladins program is all about.”
The public can learn more about Weird Enough Productions by visiting the nonprofit’s website: www.weirdenough.com.
Weird Enough Productions joins four other nonprofits that Grant Thornton previously selected as Purple Paladins: Coming Up Rosies.
Invisible Hands Deliver is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that taps more than 12,000 volunteers to deliver groceries, prescriptions and other necessities to people vulnerable to COVID-19 — including the elderly, disabled and immunocompromised. To learn more, visit: www.invisiblehandsdeliver.org.
Pal Experiences is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps people with non-visible disabilities — such as autism — have more inclusive experiences at museums, entertainment venues and sporting events. To learn more, visit: www.palexperiences.org.
Sneakers for Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides properly fitted athletic shoes to deployed combat troops in all branches of the military. To learn more, visit: www.sneakersforsoldiers.org.
Coming Up Rosies is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides ‘smile kits’ to hospitals so children — particularly those suffering from hair loss — can engage in therapeutic art activities to create custom head scarves, neck scarves and superhero capes based on their own unique designs. To learn more, visit: www.cominguprosies.com.
Grant Thornton’s Purple Paladins program derives its name from the word paladin, a champion of a cause. Grant Thornton and its professionals have donated more than $200,000 for Purple Paladin nonprofits. And more than 300 Grant Thornton professionals have volunteered support to the firm’s Purple Paladins.
To learn more about Purple Paladins or to nominate a nonprofit for potential support, visit Grant Thornton’s website: www.grantthornton.com/PurplePaladins
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