Reflecting on 2020 and serving our communities

Brad McLean
December 28, 2020
Community Impact

Reflecting on 2020 and serving our communities

What are the qualities that define a community? Unity, commitment, and adaptability – all values, when woven together, describe the values our teams work hard to uphold, in and outside the company.

As 2020 comes to an end, we remain steadfast in our commitment to be there for you, your families, our coworkers and neighbors. Whether it’s addressing social and economic barriers or empowering those particularly affected by the pandemic, we’re collaborating with civic and nonprofit organizations to provide Ohio’s communities with the resources they need.

It is vital we continue to support each other through the COVID-19 pandemic to emerge stronger than ever. From opening opportunity’s doors to closing technology gaps, I invite you to read below and learn more about our journey to building a resilient community.

Wishing you a safe and healthy holiday season.


Brad McLean


Committed to our communities

One of AT&T’s core values is to be there when people need us. And our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is rooted in that belief.

Soon after the pandemic became a reality, Ohio External Affairs partnered with our FirstNet team and several nonprofits for a “First Responder Appreciation Day” that resulted in hundreds of meals from local restaurants and Girl Scout Cookies being dropped off for law enforcement, firefighters and emergency personnel around the state. Several of our retail stores also put together care packages for public safety that included thank-you notes, hand sanitizer and snacks.

In 2020, the AT&T Foundation also contributed $25,000 to WGU Ohio, so students who are struggling financially due to the pandemic can stay in school. We gave $5,000 to the Henry the Hand Foundation, so they could provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention education to a Cincinnati public school. The Cincinnati Hamilton County Community Action Agency was also the recipient of $21,500 for families who are facing food insecurity and eviction as a result of unemployment caused by the pandemic.

Our Believe Cleveland initiative, which aims to boost digital literacy to lead to new or better jobs, also made an impact this year despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19. While we weren’t able to volunteer in person, we were able to do so in our homes, where 125 employees wrote notes of support and assembled STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) kits for kids participating in Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio programs.

Standing for equality

Another of AT&T’s core values is to “Stand for Equality” – to put people and their lived experiences at the center of everything we do.

To further embrace this value in Ohio, we created a series of internal employee discussions called “Crucial Conversations.” In October and November, we gathered employees together – virtually – to talk openly about their work and personal experiences and to take steps toward racial equity and social justice for all.

Ken McNeely, who leads AT&T’s diversity and inclusion working group, joined us for one of our live online dialogues. He talked about the importance of the business community taking a stand on social justice and its impact on public policy. He also emphasized that our employees deserve to work in communities where they are valued.

We look forward to continuing this series in the future. We’re so appreciative of the great interest our employees have shown in driving diversity and inclusion, inside and outside our walls.

Together, we can make progress toward a future where Ohioans are treated equally and empowered to thrive.

Investing in our networks

Our investment figures for this year showed that we devoted more than $1.6 billion to improving our networks across the state from 2017 to 2019.

These investments have led to a major expansion of AT&T 5G in Ohio. Most recently, we announced that Cleveland, Akron and Lorain-Elyria now have 5G in their communities. In addition, 5G is also available in:

  • Ashtabula County
  • Cincinnati
  • Clinton County
  • Columbiana County
  • Columbus
  • Dayton
  • Hamilton
  • Hancock County
  • Lima
  • Mansfield
  • Mercer County
  • Morrow County
  • Perry County
  • Ross County
  • Sandusky County
  • Springfield
  • Steubenville
  • Tuscarawas County
  • Williams County
  • Youngstown

Ohio’s first responders received a major boost in their wireless communications, too, thanks to new infrastructure that’s bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety. Ten counties across Ohio – including Ashtabula, Carroll, Holmes, Jefferson, Morgan, Muskingum, Perry and Scioto – now have newly launched FirstNet cell sites. Band 14 has also been added on more than 1,000 existing sites across Ohio as part of the initial FirstNet build, including markets such as Akron, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown.

It’s important to note that none of these technology improvements for Ohio’s citizens and first responders would be possible without our incredible employees. We are so grateful to all who toiled under very difficult circumstances this year.