Reflecting on 2020 and giving back to our communities

Eileen Mitchell
December 28, 2020
Broadband Access and Affordability, Community Impact

Reflecting on 2020 and giving back to our communities

As this year draws to a close, I find myself grateful for so many things. Frontline healthcare workers and first responders helping people through the pandemic. Teachers and parents doing their best to work through unusual circumstances. So many people supporting long-overdue racial equality reforms.

And I’m really proud that my colleagues here at AT&T are helping in Illinois, too. It’s our business, and we’re keeping people connected to work and school through our internet networks. We’re contributing to food banks in Chicago and Downstate as increasing numbers of people need the basics in life right now. And our employees are volunteering to help those in need of food and other necessities.

This has been a year to help shine our light – connecting customers, helping essential workers, and giving to so many in need. We are all getting through this together. I hope you, too, are grateful for the goodness that is shining through the clouds of 2020.

Best wishes for health and happiness during the holidays and in the new year.


Eileen Mitchell


AT&T’s 5G Network is Live Across the Country

AT&T’s 5G network is live for consumers and businesses across the country, built on the nation’s best and also fastest wireless network.

In Illinois, 5G is live in:

  • Adams County
  • Alton, Granite City
  • Aurora – Elgin
  • Bureau County
  • Champaign-Urbana
  • Chicago
  • Clay County
  • Decatur
  • Joliet
  • Mason County
  • Montgomery County
  • Springfield
  • Vermilion County
  • Washington County

To learn more about AT&T 5G, click HERE.

AT&T Invests More than $2.5 Billion Over Three-Year Period to Keep Illinois Connected

From 2017-2019, we invested more than $2.5 billion in our wireless and wireline networks in Illinois to expand coverage and improve connectivity in more communities. That investment has increased reliability, coverage and overall performance for residents and businesses, which is essential for connecting our customers with family, friends and colleagues – no matter the distance. It’s also improved critical communications services for Illinois’ first responders using the FirstNet network.

Keeping people connected with affordable internet

Now more than ever, it’s important to have access to the Internet to stay in-touch with family, friends, work, healthcare providers, retailers, and school. That’s why AT&T will continue to offer affordable ways to connect. Households with at least one resident who participates in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) may qualify for Access from AT&T. There is no annual commitment, no deposit, no installation fee and no charge for an in-home Wi-Fi ® capable modem.

To learn more about Access from AT&T, click HERE.

Feeding Families in South and West Side Chicago neighborhoods

Food pantries and organizations helping residents address food insecurity issues in Chicago’s south and west side neighborhoods received support from AT&T. The company supported the effort through our Believe Chicago® initiative helping residents in 19 south and west side Chicago neighborhoods most affected by gun violence and high unemployment.

AT&T supported the following food pantries and organizations helping feed residents in these neighborhoods:

  • Hope Community Church for its food pantry, working with Austin Coming Together for mobile deliveries (Austin neighborhood)
  • Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation for its pop-up food pantry (Auburn Gresham neighborhood)
  • Real Men Charities Inc. for its pop-up food pantry (South Shore neighborhood)
  • Growing Home, Inc., working with Teamwork Englewood to deliver food to families (Englewood neighborhood)
  • Marillac St. Vincent Family Services for its Foglia Family Center Food Pantry (East Garfield Park neighborhood)

Feeding Families across Central Illinois

AT&T helped the Central Illinois Foodbank buy much needed food and resources benefiting children, adults and seniors who are struggling to make ends meet during this challenging time through a $10,000 contribution to the Central Illinois Foodbank, which serves 21 Illinois counties. According to the Foodbank, in its service area, over 120,000 people don’t know where their next meal will come from, and one in four children struggle with hunger.

Feeding First Responders

During National Police Week, AT&T recognized police officers’ service and sacrifice with support to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which provided meals to 6,000 Chicago Police Department officers on the street and on duty across every police district in the city.

“I applaud AT&T’s generous contribution to the brave men and women of our police force who are among the many Chicagoans serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “These meals are a welcome and encouraging show of support to our officers and appreciation for their incredible efforts to keep our city safe and secure throughout this unprecedented moment in our history.”

“The COVID-19 virus has presented a new challenge for the Chicago Police Department, and our officers are working hard to keep the city safe,” said Superintendent David O. Brown. “Simple gestures like a fresh meal shows officers that they have the support of residents and provides the fuel they need to complete their shift.”

AT&T affirms “Ten Shared Principles” from Illinois Chiefs of Police and Illinois NAACP

AT&T was the first corporation to affirm the Illinois NAACP (IL NAACP) and Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) “Ten Shared Principles” on police engagement in communities. AT&T’s support for the Ten Shared Principles is part of its commitment to advocate for systemic change — a key tenet of its national Stand for Equality initiative. The Ten Shared Principles adopted by ILACP and IL NAACP in 2018 seek to outline key values in defending and protecting the civil rights of all citizens and in keeping communities and citizens safe in Illinois.

“Real change requires strong leadership, and we are pleased that AT&T is leading by becoming the first corporation to affirm the Ten Shared Principles on police engagement in communities,” said Teresa Haley, President, NAACP Illinois State Conference. “There is momentum building around the Ten Shared Principles developed by the NAACP Illinois State Conference and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, and we are excited that AT&T will lead by helping us promote adoption of these principles in communities throughout Illinois.”

“We are pleased that AT&T has become the first corporation to affirm what we have been doing for several years,” said Chief James R. Black, president of ILACP and chief of police in Crystal Lake. “We are building long-lasting relationships and building trust one conversation at a time. Bringing more visibility to the Ten Shared Principles is a priority for me, and we look forward to working with AT&T to spread the word that we want all people to feel safe and we want our communities to be safe.”

To learn more about the Ten Shared Principles HERE.

Believe Chicago®: Once-in-a-Lifetime opportunity at NBA All-Star Practice & Media Day

As part of its Believe Chicago® initiative, AT&T provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to two Chicago youth through the True Star Foundation. These aspiring broadcast journalists went behind-the-scenes of a major production as they job shadowed NBA MC hosts, interviewing NBA talent throughout the NBA All-Star Practice & Media Day presented by AT&T at Wintrust Arena. AT&T’s Believe Chicago® is an employee-inspired initiative to help improve lives and lift 19 neighborhoods on Chicago’s south and west sides most impacted by gun violence and high unemployment.

Believe Chicago®: Supporting “Chicago Forward”

As part of Believe Chicago® initiative, AT&T is a sponsor of the Chicago Tribune’s “Chicago Forward — Young lives in the balance” initiative that addresses the “challenge of reaching Chicagoland’s disconnected youth.”

To learn more about Chicago Forward HERE.

AT&T Employees provide Thanksgiving turkeys to families in need

For Thanksgiving, AT&T employees and retired volunteers provided more than 700 turkey dinners to residents of the south and west sides of Chicago and northwest suburbs. AT&T Employee Groups raised and donated funds to purchase the food and volunteered to distribute it to residents in need. This is the fourth straight year of the turkey dinner giveaway from AT&T employees in Chicago.

“I admire the spirit of giving in our employees. Again this year, they expanded their efforts to provide Thanksgiving turkeys to families in need on the south and west sides of Chicago. Our employees do more than provide service to the community, they care so much about the people here. It’s inspiring,” said Ellina Sims, AT&T Network Services Director.

FirstNet Network Expands Across Illinois to Advance Public Safety

Illinois’ first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with the addition of new, purpose-built FirstNet cell sites and other network enhancements at nearly 1,500 existing sites. This new infrastructure is a part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety.

“This is good news for the public safety community and the Illinois residents that first responders work to protect in Illinois. The FirstNet high-speed public safety broadband platform was developed by first responders following the attacks of 9/11, and additional FirstNet coverage will bring more tools to help police departments and first responders throughout Illinois,” said Ed Wojcicki, Executive Director, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community.

To learn more about FirstNet in Illinois, click HERE.