Comcast donates laptops, funds to promote digital equity

Courtesy Comcast

Comcast is donating 500 laptops and $30,000 in grants to five Grand Rapids nonprofits to advance digital equity for the community.

The donation, valued at $150,000, will be split among the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth and Urban League of West Michigan.

Funding for the project is backed by Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion plan to reach 50 million people over the next 10 years with tools, resources and skills necessary to succeed in a digital world.

“Closing the digital divide is critical to ensuring success in education and economic mobility, now and in the future,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “I’m thrilled to see Comcast and our local nonprofit organization partners pool their resources and expertise to promote digital equity in Grand Rapids.”

In Grand Rapids, Comcast also funded three “Lift Zones,” providing free and safe Wi-Fi hotspots at Baxter Community Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids and the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. The Lift Zones seek to help students and families get online and allow them to participate in remote learning, do homework, search for jobs, and access health care information and public assistance.

“One critical lesson we learned through this pandemic is the necessity of digital access for everyone in our community,” said Evelyn Esparza, executive director of Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. “The donation of laptops by Comcast and money to help drive awareness of the importance of an internet connection addresses two barriers limiting our families’ access to the digital world.”

Comcast also provides low-income families with high-speed broadband internet for $9.95 per month through its Internet Essentials program. The program also offers individuals who qualify the option to purchase a subsidized, internet-ready computer with options to take part in free digital literacy training in print, online and in person.

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