AT&T Foundation Awards $50,000 to Boost Philadelphians’ Digital Literacy Skills

AT&T Blog Team
September 27, 2021
Community Impact

AT&T Foundation Awards $50,000 to Boost Philadelphians’ Digital Literacy Skills

As part of AT&T’s recently announced nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide and homework gap, the AT&T Foundation granted $50,000 to three organizations in Philadelphia to help boost Philadelphians digital literacy skills and help them overcome the academic challenges they faced in the past year.

  • A $20,000 grant to Coded by Kids (CbK) supports the tech and digital education nonprofit’s 1Philadelphia After School Learning Pod program, which provides digital literacy skills through supportive after-school learning pods that offer supplemental learning and emotional support to low-income students. Learn more about CbK here.
  • A $20,000 grant to The Welcoming Center supports the FOCUS program, which provides a hybrid learning experience to underserved low-income and immigrant populations. Learn more about this program here.
  • A $10,000 grant to Philadelphia Fight supports digital literacy training and a digital device access library that both aim to increase participants’ capacity to access safer alternatives to medical care, housing, substance use programs, and other key social and medical supports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about this program here.

“Our support of these organizations will help the people they serve boost their digital literacy skills, giving them a better shot at success in the classroom, at work and in life.”

Joseph Divis — Assistant Vice President, AT&T External Affairs

“The pandemic heightened the challenges faced by the millions of students and others nationwide, including here in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania,” said Joseph Divis, assistant vice president, AT&T External Affairs. “Our support of these organizations will help the people they serve boost their digital literacy skills, giving them a better shot at success in the classroom, at work and in life.”

These AT&T Foundation grants support programs that are in line with the ongoing work of the city’s Digital Literacy Alliance (DLA), of which AT&T is a member. Created in 2017, the DLA is a broad coalition of institutional stakeholders working to alleviate the digital divide in Philadelphia.  The DLA develops strategy, manages an existing seed fund, and oversees funded programs.  The AT&T Foundation grants complement the grant cycles and priorities of the DLA, which included the creation of the Digital Navigation program in Spring 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Digital Literacy Alliance is pleased to have the AT&T Foundation as an innovation collaborator in its grantmaking,” said Andrew Buss, deputy CIO-Innovation Management and chair of the DLA.  “We’re eager to continue working with Joe and his team as we try to make technology accessible and meaningful for all Philadelphians.”

“I am so grateful to the AT&T Foundation for this very generous contribution,” said City Councilman Mark Squilla (First District).  “As the Council representative on the City’s Digital Literacy Alliance, I know firsthand the needs we have, and the tremendous impact the donations will have on these organizations.”

“At Coded by Kids, our focus has always been about creating equity for underrepresented students through tech education,” said Sylvester Mobley, CEO and Founder of Coded by Kids. “Of course, the pandemic adds another layer of complexity to our vision, because after a more than a year of learning loss, Black and brown students are now at an even greater disadvantage for advancing their math, literacy and digital literacy skills, which are vital to excel in tech. That’s why we’re thrilled to have the AT&T Foundation’s support and commitment for our new 1Philadelphia After School Learning Pod, an after-school accelerated learning program for K-5th grade students designed to provide wrap-around services of support to counter educational impacts of COVID-19, ultimately setting students on a pathway to success in tech or entrepreneurial careers.”

“As the Philadelphia region grows more diverse, the AT&T Foundation’s investment in our digital literacy efforts will help ensure immigrants and refugees are able to access critical information and resources to be included in the economic recovery,” said Peter Gonzales, president and CEO of The Welcoming Center.

AT&T also provided funding in late 2020 to help stand up PHLDonateTech, a city initiative calling on residents and businesses to donate, recycle, and provide computers to families and people in need across Philadelphia. PHLDonateTech is part of the work being done across sectors to close the digital divide in Philadelphia.

AT&T is committing more than $2 billion over the next 3 years to bridge the digital divide through affordable broadband offers for both consumers and education institutions, as well as high quality educational resources and community investment through AT&T Connected Learning, a program to connect students to skills, resources, and opportunities for success in school and in life.