1 in 5 South L.A. families cannot afford and therefore lack adequate internet connectivity.
SoLa I Can, the non-profit affiliate to SoLa Impact, today announced sponsorship grants from AT&T Corp, the Los Angeles Rams players, and private philanthropists to launch “1000×1000” with the goal of providing free internet to 1000 South Los Angeles families for up to 1000 days. Further complementing these efforts, Beats by Dre has donated headphones to these families to help students with virtual learning.
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Due to COVID, many South Los Angeles families have been struggling to secure and pay for high quality internet to enable their school age kids to participate in remote (or distance) learning. In response, the SoLa I Can Foundation designed the “1000×1000” (see www.1000for1000.com) in conjunction with Jade Iovine, daughter of Jimmy Iovine, in order to help bridge the digital divide and find effective ways for families to get the tools and connectivity they need so that kids could effectively attend school and complete their schoolwork. South Los Angeles, a predominately Black and brown community, has been particularly impacted financially and from a health perspective by COVID. As a result, students are 3 times less likely to keep up with their school curriculum due to either poor connectivity or no internet.
Ken McNeely, President of AT&T’s Western Division stated “The spotlight of the pandemic has made clear that access to sustainable and affordable internet service is essential. AT&T continues to do our part to close the connectivity gap, which is why we’re proud to continue our longtime commitment to communities of color and partner with the SoLa I Can Foundation to help provide free internet service to these 1,000 South L.A. families.”
“The Los Angeles Rams players selected a number of deserving, grass-roots organizations we felt were critical in meeting the needs of the community. SoLa’s 1000×1000 program stood out among dozens of deserving programs for addressing the immediate needs of L.A.’s diverse community in South L.A.” according to Andrew Whitworth, Los Angeles Rams team captain.
Jade Iovine, who chaired the 1000X1000 initiative as a volunteer with the SoLa I Can Foundation, added “Prior to this year, internet connectivity is something most people took for granted. Today, COVID has forced us all online and has proven that now, more than ever, to be without an internet connection is to be voiceless and denied access to the pathways that allow us to grow, learn, and find success. I’m so grateful to be working with the SoLa team to create a campaign, where individuals can provide internet access for Los Angeles families and help level the playing field for those who have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic.”
Sherri Francois, Executive Director of the SoLa I Can Foundation states “The support of mission-aligned corporate partners and individuals has gotten us to 50% of our goal of providing 1000 families, 1000 days of free internet. But this pandemic has hit this community especially hard, and we know how important technology and the internet is to these families not only for accessing education but also for gathering essential information regarding health, jobs and human services. There are still opportunities for L.A.’s philanthropists to be involved and donate.”