Prize Patrol: the Inside story of how we came to look silly AND help a worthy cause


“Did it have its moments feeling corny and silly? Yes. Was it cold and rainy? Yes. Did that matter? No. When you work with nearly a hundred different groups in a year, you must remind yourself who you are doing this for and the impact it will make. To create a situation where you can see their reaction is priceless.

“It affirms our work and the appreciation in which it’s received” ~ Diem Ly, community relations manager, Comcast.

So here’s the story about the video above:

Diem Ly, our external affairs manager, had an idea: let’s create our own version of a “prize patrol” and deliver grants to our nonprofit organizations in person.

Her idea fell into the hands of the Comcast communications and community giving team in Washington, whose members you meet in the video and in this post. With all due respect to the memory of Ed McMahon and the good folks at Publishers Clearing House, her original concept of our own “grant patrol” got cheesy real fast.

Heh. You can see our first take on a grant patrol in the video.

“When I woke up on Friday morning I knew my day would be a little different, but there were three things I didn’t realize: 1) That I’d be jumping out of the back of a Comcast truck (don’t worry it was parked); 2) That carrying  a big check and an umbrella at the same time is hard to do; 3) Most importantly, I didn’t realize how much of an impact adding a team of real people (aka the “Prize Patrol”) to the announcement of a grant could make. The look on Lua’s face was one of sheer delight & surprise.” ~ Michelle Becker, internal communications manager, Comcast

In terms of who would get the check, I was trying to think of someone who could roll with a bunch of people showing up with a TV camera – and of course someone who leads a group doing good. When I think of community group leaders with poise, I think of Lua Pritchard. She’s a legend in Pierce and King counties. The short story on her is that she led the Korean Womens Association to become a major service provider to underrepresented groups AND a major developer of affordable housing.

Lua then retired a few years ago and started leading the Asia Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma. This group celebrates the heritage of nearly 50 different Pacific Island groups through programs for all ages. They send ‘trunks’ of information about culture to schools around the state to help teachers share the power and heritage of diversity.

And as to her reaction to a $5,000 donation, well, you can see that on camera!

“Being the videographer and producer, I got to look at the Prize Patrol from an unique angle.  I don’t know another group in Comcast that works as hard, yet has as much fun as this group.  I don’t know who had more fun that day – the Asia Pacific Cultural Center receiving our donation, or our team giving it.  It was a great day.” ~ Ed Hauge, our video production manager.

We hope to do this again in about three months. A couple of us might be taking acting lessons in the meantime…

“Any corporation can send a letter and a check , but at Comcast, we go the extra mile by not only sending the check, but also sending along the entire local community relations team as well. I’m not sure if we added any value, but we sure had a great time.

“After this experience, not only do I think we should all stick to our day jobs, I just hope we still have our day jobs.” ~ Steve Kipp,our VP of Communications, Comcast.

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