USA Network, MSOs Toast ‘Characters’ Helping Others

Network Names 10 `Character Unite Awards' Winners

USA Network today (June 10) will unveil the 10 recipients of its 2013 Characters Unite Awards. The winners, selected for their efforts in combating hate, intolerance and discrimination worldwide and in their respective communities, receive a $5,000 grant from USA Network and participating local distributors to support their projects or related nonprofit organizations.

They also will feature in a public-service announcement on air, online at and via a social media promotion campaign.

“We applaud these ten incredible role models for the tremendous contributions they have made in their communities,” Toby Graff, senior vice president, public affairs at USA Network, said. “They truly embody the Characters Unite mission with their dedication to combating discrimination and promoting greater acceptance. With these grants and recognition, we are proud to help each honoree expand their important efforts.”

The 2013 Characters Unite Award Recipients and their sponsors (in parentheses) are:

George Garcia, Clearwater, Fla., executive director, Suncoast-High Point YMCA (Bright House Networks); Linda Michalski, Chatham, N.J., teacher, Benedictine Academy (Cablevision Systems); Linda Hooper, Whitwell, Tenn., public speaker and former principal, Whitwell Middle School (Charter); Steve Bandura, Philadelphia, Pa. (pictured), coach and recreation leader, Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation, and director, Philadelphia Youth Organization (Comcast); Carrie Severson, Scottsdale, Ariz., CEO, founder and leader, Severson Sisters (Cox); Jamie Boersma, Des Moines, Iowa, CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa (Mediacom); Eric I. Lu, Los Angeles, Calif., founder, The Jubilee Project (Time Warner Cable); Leslie DeDora, Granite Bay, Calif., founder, executive director and program director, A Touch of Understanding; Patrick Burke, Boston, Mass., co-founder, You Can Play Project; and Petty Hunter, Abilene, Texas, president, Abilene Chapter, NAACP, and executive director, Neighborhoods in Progress (Suddenlink).