In April of 2010, just weeks after the mine explosion, Charlie Annenberg and a film crew from explore.org, the philanthropic media organization he founded to champion the selfless acts of others, traveled to Raleigh County, West Virginia, to understand the issues facing the mining industry and the region. By including interviews with dozens of local area residents – from coal miners to local environmental activists to other community members – Charlie was able to capture a diverse perspective on coal mining, mountaintop removal and the recent tragedy.
Deeply moved by his experiences there, Charlie arranged for the Annenberg Foundation (of which he is vice president and trustee) to donate $2.5 million to help fund the relocation of Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, West Virginia. The school was seen by local community groups as a potential health hazard for grade school students due to its location below a dam holding back billions of gallons of coal slurry. The new school is now under construction and will open in early 2013.