The Hero Effect - New United Way Docu-Series

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Original Series Presented by
United Way and Produced by Dolphin Entertainment
Hosted by “Dancing with the Stars” Winner Donald Driver
and Actress Emily Wilson

October 11, 2016 – United Way Worldwide and Dolphin Entertainment announced today that their new inspirational docu-series, The Hero Effect, will premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a Discovery Communications subsidiary.  The ten-episode original series will air back-to-back episodes on the second Saturday of every month, from 10am-11am EST, beginning on November 12.

Presented by United Way and produced by Dolphin Entertainment, The Hero Effect is an uplifting docu-series that brings to life the stories of ordinary individuals who are making extraordinary differences in their communities.  Shot on location in ten different communities across the country, each episode brings audiences real-life stories that build on United Way’s credo to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.  The heroes featured in the series were identified in part through nominations from the 1,200 local United Ways across the country.  Each episode concludes with a call to action, encouraging viewers to visit www.HeroEffect.com and connect with their local United Way or other community-based organizations to create positive change.

The series is co-hosted by Donald Driver and Emily Wilson.  Driver, a former Dancing with the Stars winner and Super Bowl champion with the Green Bay Packers, also runs the Donald Driver Foundation, which serves underprivileged children and families.  Wilson, a multi-talented actress with credits on HBO’s The Newsroom and ABC’s General Hospital and Castle, is also a passionate philanthropist who volunteers for several national organizations.

“Throughout my 35 years of working with communities at United Way, I’ve learned that the vast majority of people are eager to make the world a better place,” said Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide.  “The men and women featured in ‘The Hero Effect’ are our local heroes, stepping forward to make a difference in their communities.  We’re incredibly inspired by their work and excited to help share them and their efforts with the world.”

“Instinctively, we all believe that there are quiet heroes out in the world, helping others in meaningful ways,” said Bill O’Dowd, CEO, Dolphin Entertainment.  “The Hero Effect’ hopes to create some noise around their efforts, in the hope of inspiring others to do the same.  With the Oprah Winfrey Network and United Way, we have two strong partners who have built leading, recognizable brands on celebrating the power of the human spirit, and will help us to bang the drum for more heroes.”

The following is a snapshot of the Season One episodes of The Hero Effect:

“MISSION UNITED”

Founded by Stephen Moss, who was inspired after his daughter returned from deployment injured, Mission United supports military veterans and their families. 

“CAFÉ MOMENTUM”

Chef Chad Houser created this Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility to transform the lives of at-risk youth who have spent time in juvenile facilities. 

“MORE TOO LIFE”

Brook Bello used her story of survival as a way to reach out to other victims of human trafficking to help them heal and restore their own lives. 

“MARY’S CENTER”

Maria Gomez, a nurse in the District of Columbia’s Department of Health, founded this federally qualified health center to provide health care, family literacy and social services to individuals whose needs too often go unmet. 

“RAISING READERS IN STORY COUNTY”

Carolyn Jons leads the effort to help improve language and literacy development in children, and nurture healthy family relationships.

“RISING TIDE CAR WASH”

Founded by John and Tom D’Eri, Rising Tide Carwash hires individuals with autism and teaches them job skills to help them on a path towards independent living.

“TREEHOUSE”

Founded by Judy Cockerton, Treehouse is a multi-generational affordable community connecting the elderly with families in foster care or who have been adopted.

“KATIE’S KROPS”

17-year-old Katie Stagliano started this organization to teach kids about growing vegetables and how providing those crops to disadvantaged populations can help fight hunger. 

“CHEYENNE RIVER YOUTH PROJECT”

Project leader Julie Garreau works with young people from poverty stricken Native American families in the Eagle Buttle, SD, community to create services that foster healthy choices and life practices. 

“INDO JAX SURF CHARITIES”

Jack Viorel leads this organization, which empowers disadvantaged, medically fragile and special needs children by exposing them to the ocean environment and teaching them to surf.

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ABOUT UNITED WAY WORLDWIDE

United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.8 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide, and more than $4.7 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.

ABOUT DOLPHIN ENTERTAINMENT

Founded in 1996, Dolphin is a world-class independent financier, distributor and producer of premium film, television and digital programming.  Dolphin has produced and delivered original content to more than 300 million homes in 125 countries.  Dolphin Entertainment is an Emmy-nominated leader in family, tween, teen and young-adult television programming.  Dolphin Entertainment is known for creating hit properties such as Emmy-nominated Zoey 101 (Nickelodeon’s highest-rated series), Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, and What’s Up Warthogs (Family Channel’s Canadian Screen Award nominated).  The Dolphin Entertainment-produced family sitcom Raising Expectations, starring Molly Ringwald and Jason Priestley, premiered on Mother’s Day 2016, on Family Channel Canada.

ABOUT OWN: OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey's heart and creative instincts inform the brand – and the magnetism of the channel. Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities. OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The network debuted on January 1, 2011. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. For more information, please visitwww.oprah.com/own and https://press.discovery.com/us/own/.