Players Coalition Awarding $350,000 in Grants to Help Close the Digital Divide for Students

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Players Coalition, the nonprofit founded by NFL players Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins,…

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Players Coalition, the nonprofit founded by NFL players Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins, announced this week that it is donating $350,000 in grants nationwide to help provide K-12 students and schools with the needed internet access, broadband connectivity and technology devices to make learning from home easier for students.

The grants are being awarded to 11 districts, schools and technology programs across the country in locations including Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Dallas, Ector County, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Palm Beach, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Players Coalition partnered with educational leadership organization Chiefs for Change to help identify critical opportunities to ensure connectivity for low-income students in several of the selected markets.

«In football, plays don’t work unless players get the signal, from the sideline, to the quarterback, to every player on the field,» says Chiefs for Change CEO, Mike Magee. «And in today’s world, students can’t do their schoolwork without a signal at home. Millions of children are waiting for that signal—an internet signal so they can learn, whether their classes are happening in person or online. With the generous support of Players Coalition, we are expanding internet access to more students. This is a critical step—but we need Congress and the FCC to #SendTheSignal to every home in America. Now is the time for universal broadband. Students can’t wait any longer.»

«Education is a basic right. And this year, more than ever before, all students need access to computers and internet access at home,» says Players Coalition co-founder and former NFL player, Anquan Boldin. «We’ve already lost so much in 2020 due to COVID-19, but it should not be a year where our nation’s children lose out on learning because their families have limited financial resources.»

Players Coalition enlisted the support of Players Coalition Task Force members including Devin McCourty (New England Patriots) and Demario Davis (New Orleans Saints), and Players Coalition supporters who are current and former NFL and MLS players to announce the grants to students via video messages.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated education inequities and the digital divide in our country as millions have struggled to get online amidst the transition to distance learning and will continue to fall further behind into 2021 without additional support. Approximately two out of three  (59%) of parents from lower income homes reported their children will face obstacles when it comes to remote learning due to a lack of access to computers or internet at home, according to a study out of the Pew Research Center.

Almost 20% of high-school age students in the United States are often unable to complete homework assignments because they do not have reliable access to a computer or internet connection at home. Those numbers are even higher for African American and Latino students, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center

Players Coalition hopes that these grants will  help to bridge that gap. This year’s grant recipients are part of a larger, years-long initiative from Players Coalition. Since 2019, the PC Charitable Foundation has awarded more than $675,000 in grant funds to schools throughout the country to address the digital divide by ensuring internet connectivity and access to STEAM education programming and technology.


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