Jason Black's Dedication to Social Impact and Volunteerism at NVIDIA

Common Impact Volunteer Spotlight
Apr 24, 2024 10:45 AM ET

At NVIDIA, giving back is a big part of the company’s culture. Through their Inspire 365 initiative, NVIDIA empowers employees like Jason Black to turn their passion for giving back into action. Jason, a robotics content marketing lead, is a huge advocate for volunteering and a community engagement champion.

For the past three years, NVIDIA has collaborated with Common Impact to provide employees with volunteer opportunities that incorporate their professional skills. These initiatives, ranging from short-term consulting events to nonprofit board service, allow NVIDIA employees to leverage their expertise for the greater good. For Jason, it’s a chance to use his marketing and communication prowess to amplify the impact of organizations making a difference in the world.

In this volunteer spotlight, we delve into Jason’s journey as a volunteer, exploring how he’s combining his professional skills with his passion for giving back through recent skills-based volunteering with AI4ALL, a nonprofit on a mission to make AI careers more accessible to underrepresented and diverse undergrad students through its open curriculum learning, program alum network, and accelerator program AI4ALL Ignite.

While financial contributions are undoubtedly important, there’s a profound transformation when you realize you can use your skills and expertise directly to enhance the capabilities of a nonprofit organization. 

Tell us about yourself and why volunteering and giving back matters to you. 

As part of the robotics division at NVIDIA, I enjoy contributing to our team’s content marketing endeavors. Before this, I served as a communications director for a nonprofit called Community Renewal Team in Hartford, Connecticut, where I dedicated four fulfilling years of my career.

My work with that organization solidified my passion and commitment to finding ways to help others in need. While financial contributions are undoubtedly important, there’s a profound transformation when you realize you can use your skills and expertise directly to enhance the capabilities of a nonprofit organization. It’s gratifying to know that my efforts empower these organizations to amplify their impact and better serve their communities.

What is it about your role as Content Marketing Lead for Robotics at NVIDIA that lights up your passion for your work?

My job at NVIDIA gives me a front-row seat to the latest technological innovations that will truly change the world as we know it. Seeing how my coworkers develop new technologies and products, particularly in the robotics group, blows me away nearly daily. I am surrounded – virtually – by very talented and creative individuals eager to find new ways to use robotics in every possible industry and scenario, and they are doing things that even just a few years ago would have been the stuff of science fiction. I enjoy diving into real-world stories of how robotics technology is evolving to enhance safety and elevate the human experience in various fields like factories, healthcare, and retail. Crafting content around these groundbreaking innovations is exciting!

What motivated you to volunteer when you first heard about the skills-based volunteering opportunity with NVIDIA and Common Impact? What do you enjoy about the skills-based volunteering programs?

I’ve been lucky to dive into skills-based volunteering four times now! It’s a great way to spend my time in the ease of my home office. Common Impact staff matched me to projects aligned with my background and experience each time.

During my recent skills-based volunteering experience with Common Impact, I eagerly embraced the chance to take on the team lead role, especially considering AI4ALL’s marketing-related challenge. With previous volunteering engagements under my belt, I felt well-prepared to guide my team through the project with confidence. Being team lead meant I was in charge of keeping the volunteer group on track and leading the project to completion. I enjoyed that opportunity. I got to work with a great group of employees from NVIDIA, including a few people I already knew from other project work inside the company and several new people I had not worked with before. Everyone came together and put their hearts and minds into coming up with solutions for AI4ALL’s challenges. We came up with some very creative ideas for AI4ALL to consider and implement!

Recently, your volunteer team reviewed AI4ALL’s online presence and suggested ways to boost engagement on social media. Additionally, your team advised on how AI4ALL can recruit for their upcoming fall cohort.

What was AI4ALL’s business challenge? 

For the last few years, AI4ALL’s programs have relied on university partnerships for student recruitment – the university promotes the program and encourages students to apply. Through this process, AI4ALL has less control over how the program is communicated and on what timeline.

They are currently recruiting for their Spring cohort of AI4ALL Ignite and are using social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram to engage their target demographic—18 to 24-year-olds primed for AI careers but experiencing strategy challenges. Looking ahead to their Fall session, AI4ALL wants a stronger recruitment strategy that leverages their digital platforms and successfully attracts more students to apply for the AI4ALL Ignite program. My volunteer team reviewed AI4ALL’s digital presence across social platforms and identified opportunities to improve traction with their target audience: Gen Z.

What solutions did your team come up with?

We put together a mini-marketing plan for AI4ALL that included recommendations to connect with more of their target audience using tactics such as social media, influencers, advertising, and outreach at colleges and universities through their career departments and student newsletters. Our team identified ways AI4ALL could connect with Gen Z audiences to recruit for their programs. We recommended meeting them where they hang out online like TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn. As of the time of the volunteer engagement, AI4ALL was not regularly using TikTok, yet 71% of TikTok users are Gen Z.

We also recommended that AI4ALL enhance existing channels, such as their student newsletter. Lastly, we suggested leveraging program alumni as brand ambassadors and expanding outreach to supportive individuals in academia who can advocate for the program.

What do you hope the impact will be? 

I’m optimistic that AI4ALL will embrace these recommendations and incorporate them into their future recruiting strategies for their program. They have great potential to connect with Gen Z audiences by leveraging the social media platforms where this demographic is most active.

What skills did you leverage to help AI4ALL? 

Having spent over 25 years in marketing and communications in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors, I was excited to contribute to the AI4ALL project. It felt great to share my expertise and develop ideas tailored to their needs.

While I brought my expertise, it was inspiring to see some of my teammates, who were new to volunteering and didn’t have a marketing background, learn and grow during the project. Guiding the team through this volunteering project was fulfilling, and each person brought their own unique perspective, which was invaluable to the overall project. It allowed us to tap into diverse expertise to develop a comprehensive plan that AI4ALL can begin implementing.

What was your favorite part of this event? What stuck with you after this experience?

My favorite part of this event was working in a team with different backgrounds and talents. Everyone brought a unique perspective to the project, and since only a few of us had a marketing background, we were getting many out-of-the-box ideas.

What stuck with me about the experience was how we accomplished so much in a short amount of time. We gave AI4ALL a complete list of actionable ideas they could implement immediately. Plus, it solidified my opinion that skills-based volunteering opportunities are worthwhile and practical – I look forward to signing up for another one later this year!

For more social impact content like this, follow us on LinkedIn and sign-up for our monthly newsletter. Ready to learn more about skills-based volunteering? Reach out.

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About Common Impact 

Common Impact is a national nonprofit that fosters meaningful partnerships between purpose-driven Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits worldwide to propel social good. Since 2000, Common Impact has generated over 205,000 hours of skills-based volunteering and $40 million in resources. Common Impact is dedicated to helping nonprofits expand their capacity, improve efficiency, and deliver on their mission with customized and impactful projects through corporate partnerships. Learn more about Common Impact’s services, impact, and clients.

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Media Contact

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