The Los Angeles Rams and the NFL have teamed up to address the most critical barrier to learning for Los Angeles students during the pandemic, the digital divide, by providing a $30K grant to support the work of the Partnership for Los Angeles School's "Students Connected" program.
"Students Connected" is an innovative program designed to provide internet service for hundreds of families in Watts, South LA and Boyle Heights who face barriers to connectivity. Through the program, the Partnership is funding high-quality broadband service at no cost to families. The grant will support the program's outreach and enrollment efforts as well as provide internet services to low-income families.
"Solving the digital divide requires a collective response from nonprofits, government agencies, and the private sector working side by side to provide all students with the technology and internet access they need to learn. Through this funding, we will be able to scale and enroll hundreds more low-income families in communities of color who would otherwise not have access to high-speed internet at home. With the support of the NFL and the Rams, our students are able to engage with rigorous learning opportunities from home to strengthen their 21st century skills and set themselves on a path to success in college and beyond," says Ryan Smith, chief external officer at the Partnership.
More than 400 families representing all 19 Partnership schools are currently participating in the "Students Connected" program. The pilot program has resulted in 96% of internet modem activations within the first week of delivery to families. Additionally, 98% of families surveyed said they are satisfied with the quality of their new connection. The Partnership aims to narrow the digital divide for Los Angeles' highest-need schools by removing the access barriers to quality home internet service.
"The Los Angeles Rams are a big believer in the work that the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools is doing to address education inequities for our students in Watts, South LA and Boyle Heights. We are proud to support their innovative approach to bridge the digital divide and improve student success and upward mobility during such a critical time for under-resourced students," says Molly Higgins, vice president of community affairs and engagement, Los Angeles Rams.
The grant was part of a leaguewide initiative that allowed each NFL team the opportunity to provide a grant of up to $30k in funding to help address the digital divide in their communities.