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  • Rhode Island Foundation Commits $100,000 to Close Tech Gaps for Students Statewide

    Joins List of Philanthropic Donors – and Challenges Others to Match

    The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and Rhode Island Foundation have announced an opportunity for Rhode Islanders to help students and families struggling to access adequate distance learning technology and internet connectivity.

    Statewide, the majority of students are able to access distance learning opportunities using technology provided by public school districts. However, through constant contact with each local education agency (LEA), RIDE has identified pockets of need in some school communities, including families where multiple siblings are sharing one Chromebook or households without access to internet connectivity.

    With that need in mind, Rhode Island Foundation has committed $100,000 to the Fund for Rhode Island Public Education to provide computers and Wi-Fi hotspots to school communities with students and families in need. The Foundation has also issued a statewide challenge, encouraging individuals and local corporations to step up to match the amount.

    Donations accepted at www.rifoundation.org/RIEducation.

    “Once again, Rhode Island Foundation has stepped up to play a powerful leadership role to close the gaps that prevent some Rhode Islanders from the full benefits of critical services like education,” said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “In this era, access to technology can mean the difference between preparing for the future or being left behind. This commitment is just the latest example of companies, non-profits and individuals stepping up to help our students – and our future.”

    “This is a moment for all Rhode Islanders to come together to support our students and our teachers,” said Neil D. Steinberg, President and CEO of the Foundation. “Our commitment is tailored to focus on the technologies that make equitable learning opportunities possible during this public health crisis. We challenge those who are able to step up and match our commitment, so that every family has the resource and tools to make distance learning possible. We are truly all in this together.”

    Based on identified needs across the state, and using an equity lens, the Foundation’s commitment and challenge grant funds will be distributed to LEAs or used directly to purchase Chromebooks and hotspots via the Fund for Rhode Island Public Education. Charitable contributions to the Fund in any amount will be accepted. Once the challenge grant is fulfilled, RIDE estimates that approximately 500 hotspots and 400 computers will be available to close technology gaps.

    Since distance learning began, a number of local companies and individuals have already assisted districts in the purchase of new technology. Cox Communications donated $25,000 that helped Central Falls School District buy 120 laptops, and Fidelity donated 120 refurbished iPads that were given to three LEAs. Lenny Lopes purchased 15 laptops for Central Falls, and Tom Gilbane, Jr., CEO of Gilbane, and Joe Paolino, former mayor of Providence, donated generously to the Providence Public School District to provide students Wi-Fi access.
    Providence, RI - The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and Rhode Island Foundation today announced an opportunity for Rhode Islanders to help students and families struggling to access adequate distance learning technology and internet connectivity.

    Statewide, the majority of students are able to access distance learning opportunities using technology provided by public school districts. However, through constant contact with each local education agency (LEA), RIDE has identified pockets of need in some school communities, including families where multiple siblings are sharing one Chromebook or households without access to internet connectivity.

    With that need in mind, Rhode Island Foundation has committed $100,000 to the Fund for Rhode Island Public Education to provide computers and Wi-Fi hotspots to school communities with students and families in need. The Foundation has also issued a statewide challenge, encouraging individuals and local corporations to step up to match the amount.

    Donations accepted at www.rifoundation.org/RIEducation

    “Once again, Rhode Island Foundation has stepped up to play a powerful leadership role to close the gaps that prevent some Rhode Islanders from the full benefits of critical services like education,” said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “In this era, access to technology can mean the difference between preparing for the future or being left behind. This commitment is just the latest example of companies, non-profits and individuals stepping up to help our students – and our future.”

    “This is a moment for all Rhode Islanders to come together to support our students and our teachers,” said Neil D. Steinberg, President and CEO of the Foundation. “Our commitment is tailored to focus on the technologies that make equitable learning opportunities possible during this public health crisis. We challenge those who are able to step up and match our commitment, so that every family has the resource and tools to make distance learning possible. We are truly all in this together.”

    Based on identified needs across the state, and using an equity lens, the Foundation’s commitment and challenge grant funds will be distributed to LEAs or used directly to purchase Chromebooks and hotspots via the Fund for Rhode Island Public Education. Charitable contributions to the Fund in any amount will be accepted. Once the challenge grant is fulfilled, RIDE estimates that approximately 500 hotspots and 400 computers will be available to close technology gaps.

    Since distance learning began, a number of local companies and individuals have already assisted districts in the purchase of new technology. Chiefs for Change provided a $50,000 grant to provide hotspots for the Providence Public School District, Cox Communications donated $25,000 that helped Central Falls School District buy 120 laptops, and Fidelity donated 120 refurbished iPads that were given to three LEAs. Lenny Lopes purchased 15 laptops for Central Falls, and Tom Gilbane, Jr., CEO of Gilbane, and Joe Paolino, former mayor of Providence, donated generously to the Providence Public School District to provide students Wi-Fi access.

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