MEDIA CONTACT:
Janelle Tassart
C: 480.215.2149
jtassart@phoenixchamber.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 01, 2020

The Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation (Foundation) has partnered with Data Doctors, Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology (AZ StRUT), and Cox Communications to provide critical laptop and internet access to our K-12 students through a community laptop drive.

“One of our Foundation’s core pillars is education. During this unparalleled time of upheaval, Arizona students and teachers need our community’s support to facilitate virtual learning,” said Todd Sanders, President and CEO of the Foundation. “We’re leveraging our business and government relationships to create a partnership that will connect students with the resources they need to learn while practicing social distancing.”

During this time of unexpected closure, schools and students need support from local communities.

“We know there are many students in Arizona that do not have home access to the technology needed to participate in online learning. This ‘digital divide’ will disadvantage large numbers of students if not addressed,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “On behalf of Arizona’s students and families, I want to thank the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation and their partners for rapidly mobilizing to help meet the needs of students and families across our state.”

Through a unique partnership, the Foundation is working with Data Doctors and AZ StRUT to collect laptops, Chromebooks, netbooks, and chargers that can be refurbished and distributed to students who need access to these vital learning tools.

“The ‘Digital Divide’ that has kept those with little or no access to technology at a disadvantage is being made worse by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Ken Colburn, President of Data Doctors. “The learn from home initiatives being stressed by our government and schools isn’t even an option for those with no access to technology.  We encourage every business owner or individual that has older laptops, Chromebooks or even netbooks to consider donating them to help us provide some basic tools to those students that are in the greatest need in this extraordinary moment in time.”

Cox Communications is also providing low-cost residential internet service to students in need. Cox’s Connect2Compete is for families with school-aged children who are enrolled in low-income assistance programs (free or reduced school lunch, SNAP, TANF or public housing).  New customers will receive two months of free service through May 15. Schools are being asked to contact connectnow@cox.com with a list of eligible low-income students that currently do not have an internet connection.  For additional information, please visit www.Cox.com/LowCostInternet.

“At a time when we are all working together to support those in our state who need to continue to learn and work from home, Cox is committed to keeping our communities connected and providing relief to those who are struggling, said John Wolfe, Southwest Region Manager and Senior Vice President, Cox Communications.  “Connect 2 Compete connects economically challenged students, so they can continue their learning at home, giving them connection to their teachers, schools, lesson plans and the internet.”

The Foundation will pilot the program with Phoenix Union School District (PXU) to provide the first 100 devices to PXU students. Once the pilot is complete, the program will expand to other school districts. Interested districts can fill out an interest form here.

“The digital divide is far and wide. Equitable access to technology has long been an issue,” said Phoenix Union Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson. “School closures did not create this crisis—it has simply shed light on the disparities that have always existed.”

Community members and businesses can support the effort by donating used laptops to Data Doctors, at one of their 17 Valley locations. Data Doctors has a curbside, contactless delivery process for drop-off to keep you and their employees safe.

“As a leader in Arizona’s business community and an innovator in the workforce development arena, the Foundation is committed to working with education partners to support educational outcomes in Arizona,” said Jennifer Mellor, Chief Innovation Officer for the Foundation. “Our community’s needs have changed as a result of COVID-19, and we are retooling our resources and partnerships to meet those needs.”

The focus of this partnership is ensuring that students have access to the tools they need to continue to learn, challenge their minds, and seek postsecondary opportunities. Details are available online at phoenixchamber.com/laptopdrive.

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Media Contacts:
Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation — Janelle Tassart | 480-215-2149 |  jtassart@phoenixchamber.com
COX Communications – Andrea Katsenes Pappas | 623-328-3272 | Andrea.Katsenes@cox.com
Data Doctors—Ken Colburn | ken@datadoctors.com
Phoenix Union—Richard Franco | 602-764-1530 | franco@phoenixunion.org

About the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation
Launched in 2016, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation carries out charitable and education objectives by conducting research, forming partnerships and hosting events focused on education, workforce development, wellness, and community development.

 

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