In an effort to ensure every one of Portland Public Schools’ students can access the district’s home-based distance learning program, PPS-HD, The Fund for Portland Public Schools and Comcast’s Oregon/SW Washington region announce a business partnership providing any PPS family in need of internet connectivity access to it, free of charge.
Taking advantage of Comcast’s Internet Essentials, a program designed for low-income families and individuals to acquire access to the internet, The Fund for PPS has made an initial commitment to sponsor up to six months of free internet connectivity for 2,000 families.
The Fund for PPS will continue to seek donations to ensure every PPS student who needs internet access can acquire it, free of charge, for the duration of this unprecedented school closure. Similarly, it continues to raise philanthropic dollars to ensure students with unstable housing can also have access to the internet through mobile hotspots. Portland Public Schools estimates that over 3,000 students need internet access.
“Thanks to an early infusion of private donations, we were excited to commit free internet connectivity to many of our students and families in need,” said Jonathan Garcia, President of The Fund for PPS. “We are thankful for our business and philanthropic community who continue to step up in big ways for our families during a difficult time.”
“As we transition from a traditional brick and mortar school experience to one that takes place online, it is more important than ever that we make every effort to remain connected to our students who rely on us for not only academics, but also essential needs and social and emotional supports,” said Guadalupe Guerrero, Superintendent of the Portland Public Schools. “This crisis has highlighted the digital divide and inequities to accessing the internet. This partnership will allow us to stay connected to our students who need us most.”
Since its inception in 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than 52,000 low-income households in the Oregon/SW Washington region. The program charges $9.95/month, but in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Comcast is offering two months free for customers who sign up on or before April 30. For PPS families, The Fund for PPS will purchase an additional four months.
“During this unprecedented time, it is vital for Oregonians to stay connected to the Internet – for education, work, and personal health reasons,” said Comcast’s Marion Haynes, Vice-President of External Affairs for Comcast Oregon/SW Washington. “We’re proud to partner with The Fund for Portland Public Schools to help get kids connected through our Internet Essentials program.”
Beginning the week of April 13th, Portland Public Schools will make phone calls to families who previously expressed a need for internet access. These families will receive a unique promotion code that will give them access to the free six months of internet access. Also, beginning on Tuesday, families will be able to visit fundforpps.org/internet to submit a request for a promotional code. PPS staff at computer distribution sites will also be able to support families’ requests for this promotional code.
About The Fund for Portland Public Schools
The Fund for Portland Public Schools is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to building a robust network of generous donors, stewarding strategic philanthropic investments and overseeing parent-led school foundation efforts in support of Oregon’s largest school system, Portland Public Schools (PPS). As a nonprofit entity, The Fund for PPS plays a unique role: not only does it broker partnerships between the philanthropic community and our 81 individual school communities, it is also making it possible for a whole new magnitude of private investments to help shape PPS into an exemplary, 21st-century public school system that will provide all 50,000+ students with an equitable, inspired, intellectually rigorous educational experience, preparing them to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
Portland Public Schools recognizes the diversity and worth of all individuals and groups and their roles in society. It is the policy of the Portland Public Schools Board of Education that there will be no discrimination or harassment of individuals or groups on the grounds of age, color, creed, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation in any educational programs, activities or employment.