June 26, 2020
Public, Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leaders Develop $50M, 4-Year Initiative in an effort to Provide Over 100,000 Chicago Public Schools Students Broadband Access, Unlocking Digital Education and Critical Online Resources
Today, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the launch of Chicago Connected, a pioneering citywide effort to provide high-speed, at-home broadband access to every Chicago Public Schools (CPS) student in need who lacks connectivity, approximately 100,000 students across 60,000 households. This first-of-its-kind program will be one of the largest and longest-term efforts in the nation to provide free, high-speed broadband over the course of four years to dramatically increase internet access for students and help build a permanent public support system for families in Chicago. The program takes on the persistent access issue through a sustainable public-private investment in broadband, with philanthropic partners bridging the initial costs for the first two years. ‘Chicago Connected’ is estimated to cost approximately $50 million over the next four years, prioritizing households in need on the city’s South and West Sides.
Inspired by research and the firsthand accounts of parents struggling to get their families connected to remote learning and other essential support, the City worked with CPS and Ken Griffin to initiate this first-of-its-kind, scalable solution to address the issue and galvanize additional funders.
“Internet connectivity is a lifeline to education and opportunity – extending learning beyond the classroom and opening pathways for development and wellbeing,” said Ken Griffin. “With ongoing access, every student and their family – regardless of economic circumstance – will be better positioned to pursue a brighter future. I hope ‘Chicago Connected’ will inspire other communities across the country to come together to eliminate the digital divide.”
Read more in the Chicago Tribune.