MILWAUKEE – Sept. 17, 2020 – Spectrum today announced two Milwaukee-area nonprofits, Hispanic Federation and Digital Bridge, will each receive a $30,000 Spectrum Digital Education Grant. Spectrum’s grants aim to further digital literacy in underserved populations within the Milwaukee area. These grants are part of the company’s multi-year, $6 million cash and in-kind national commitment to digital education in Spectrum communities across the country.
“We thank Hispanic Federation and Digital Bridge for being instrumental in helping us provide support for digital education in the Milwaukee community,” said Rahman Khan, Vice President of Community Impact for Charter Communications, Inc., which operates the Spectrum brand of TV, Internet, Voice and Mobile products. “Through these organizations, we can continue to provide those in need with the resources to navigate the challenges of the digital age.”
Recipients of this year’s Spectrum Digital Education Grants range from long-standing nonprofits that continue to make a difference in local communities, to newer organizations meeting educational needs for children, including those experiencing homelessness and remote learning challenges.
Hispanic Federation Opens New Spectrum Learning Lab
The Spectrum Digital Education grant will create a Spectrum Learning Lab located at the Hispanic Federation partner agency, SER Jobs for Progress, in Milwaukee. The learning lab will equip seniors, Latino families, and low-income community members with the tools needed to contribute to their success. The computer lab will feature 15 workstations, a lending library of 10 portable devices and provide a hybrid model of in-person and individual distance learning adapted to various phases of COVID reopening plans.
“The new Spectrum Learning Lab will provide the Milwaukee community with opportunities to gain new digital skills and compete in the 21st-century workforce,” said Brent Wilkes, Hispanic Federation’s Senior Vice President for Institutional Development.
Digital Bridge Furthers Efforts in Response to COVID-19
For a third consecutive year, Digital Bridge will receive a Spectrum Digital Education grant to further the digital inclusion program known as “Bridge Milwaukee.” This program promotes digital literacy and bridges the divide for low-income families by removing barriers to digital inclusion, affordable home broadband access, access to devices, digital skills training and technical support. Bridge Milwaukee program participants emerge better able to access educational and economic opportunities.
“Digital Bridge is very excited to continue our partnership with Spectrum,” said Jeff Hanson, Executive Director of Digital Bridge. “Spectrum’s continued support – especially during COVID-19 – is helping us distribute even more refurbished technology so families can access digital learning for their students and so professionals can work remotely. With Spectrum’s partnership and grant funding, we’ve added a layer of education and access training to help individuals confidently take the equipment and utilize it to improve their lives.”
Hanson says Digital Bridge has shipped more than 1,000 refurbished devices in the Milwaukee area since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with new requests coming in daily.
Spectrum Digital Education Commitment Totals $6 Million
Spectrum Digital Education aims to help local community members across Charter’s 41-state service area to improve their lives through digital education. Since launching the program in 2017, Charter has committed to award $6 million in cash grants and in-kind commitments, including PSAs and technical assistance, to support broadband education, training and technology. Spectrum Digital Education has benefitted 41,706 individuals in 17 states and Washington, D.C. through July 2020.
Spectrum Digital Education is one of several philanthropic programs developed by Charter to support the communities in which Charter provides service and where its employees both live and work. Additionally, Spectrum Housing Assist, launched in 2015 to make homes safer and healthier, has resulted in improvements to more than 44,000 homes to date and is on track to meet its goal of improving 50,000 homes by the end of 2020. Charter’s Spectrum Employee Community Grants program, launched in 2019 to support employees’ volunteer activities at local social and human services organizations, has already resulted in donations to 164 organizations across 25 states.
This year, Charter announced the launch of the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund, which will invest $10 million in capital by the end of 2021, making loans up to $1 million to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in the company’s footprint. In June, Charter announced additional investment partnerships with the National Urban League and National Action Network to support Black and other minority-owned small businesses. The addition of those partnerships increased Charter’s Loan Fund commitment to $13 million. Finally, this spring, Charter introduced Spectrum Scholars, a two-year educational program for eligible rising juniors in financial need, that will award a total of $400,000 in scholarship aid, provide company mentors for students, as well as connecting them with potential internship opportunities at Charter.