“For me, in a news environment that oftentimes ways heavy on your heart– I use giving your best in the Jefferson Awards and multiplying good as an outlet of positivity.” – Taylor Newton, Director of Community Involvement at WJBF News Channel 6.

Here at Multiplying Good we spotlight our Media Partnerships across the country, celebrating unsung local heroes in their communities. We interviewed Taylor Newton to share her perspective on their media partnership with Multiplying Good and the Jefferson Award series.

“We build the Jefferson Awards off our Giving Your Best initiative. We give out Giving your Best award monthly based on volunteerism and community impact. Our nominations come from all over, so on a daily basis I get to read through multiple nominations of people in our area just doing good for the heck of it– not because they have to but because they want to. At the end of the year, we have twelve amazing people that we can connect with to give out the award in an amazing banquet for the Jefferson Award. It’s a night of joy and positivity and bringing people together that then go on to do things together. And we get to build on that.

A lot of times it starts with us just giving someone an award and turns into, ‘how can we make this even bigger than us? It’s a ripple effect, all the different stories, with a lot of the time the common thread being personal stories from a place of grief or hurt or struggle. And we all deal with that… I was looking for something to be able to go home and just be able to have a smile on my face and know, wow, you're making a difference, whether it's me making a difference, or my team, or my community, or the station.

The small towns need a lot more and, and no one thinks about going out to a tiny town in South Carolina and giving back but, because of the community that we have and all of the people that we have reached through this award and continue to reach through our drives and initiatives, we're able to give to those people that are often overlooked.  

We do monthly projects along with those people we give our award to so that years down the line, we’re able to contact a Jefferson Award winner that we haven't heard from them in a while to see what they're doing, how we can get them more attention and whatever they may need for that month. It ends up being so much bigger than one award, especially because of all of the different areas we reach. The more we share the stories, the more people are writing in and wanting to be a part of it. We have so many more people in our back pocket that we get to reach out to that are always willing to go above and beyond for someone else.  

We had a winner recently that has a farm, and she uses her farm as a branch for foster families that have accessible needs. Her farm is all accessible and I went to a service day just to see what they do and what they're about, or even when I was at the hospital the other day and a woman was making gowns for children out of wedding dresses– we add all of these incredible people to the list. Oftentimes it's a surprise, so that always adds to the journey for me. There was another woman, a mother in particular– her daughter was killed, and she's raising her other kids. Most of them are on the spectrum and have accessibility needs of some kind. And she never asked for help, she joined a support group that wasn't necessarily what she needed and instead of just sitting there she started her own support group. She built a community for her grandkids, beyond what a lot of parents do and beyond what I would ever think to do. And she works a full-time job and is a single parent. It rubs off on everybody in the community. We take individuals and nonprofits like these and carry that into our monthly giving.  

In the world that we live in, we all go home, and we're beat up and battered by the media, but because of the work I get to do and all the positivity I get to see, I’m surrounded by people who are giving back, and it makes me feel like I’m doing something that's with purpose. We hear so many stories about young people and get to show the older generation that they have nothing to worry about; that they’re teaching their kids to love and to give back.

I wish people understood the magnitude and the reach and how far-reaching Multiplying Good and the Jefferson Awards really is. We focus a lot on the ripple, and you never know that one little thing that can spark a whole change in a whole wave of kindness in the future. We have three partners to be able to go out and do these things. If we're doing a blanket drive, they're going out and they're telling their employees to collect blankets. If we're collecting toys, their employees are required to bring a toy. The partners that have been with Giving Your Best have been with Giving Your Best for 20 years. They love this initiative. They love these people. They love the stories that we share. They love the opportunity to be a part of it so much that there will never be a Giving Your Best-Jefferson Award-Multiplying Good sponsorship at our station available. As long as those companies are in business, they will never offer their spot to anyone else.

I think that says something about what Multiplying Good does, what we do, and what the people in our area are able to get out of it.”

Thank you to WBJF News and Taylor Newton for being a part of Multiplying Good and putting good back into the narrative.