With Illinois Connectivity Day, AT&T Connects More Families to Greater Possibilities

Eileen Mitchell, President, AT&T Midwest and Illinois
May 31, 2024
Broadband Access and Affordability

With Illinois Connectivity Day, AT&T Connects More Families to Greater Possibilities

On May 21, we had a great day helping bridge the digital divide for students and families in Illinois. 

We celebrated Illinois Connectivity Day by giving away free refurbished laptops to 521 students and families at 5 events in Chicago, the suburbs and Downstate Illinois.   

Throughout the country, millions of people remain unconnected to the internet. That’s why, as part of the AT&T Connected Learning® initiative, AT&T’s Illinois Connectivity Day helped address the digital divide by providing free laptops and a digital literacy training session to students and families. 

What a joy it was to see the smiles on the students’ faces and hear about their plans to put these laptops to good use right away.

Our “521 laptops on 5/21” events were produced in collaboration with Compudopt and 5 non-profit organizations. In Chicago, we worked with UCAN and the Chicago Urban League. In University Park, we collaborated with 100 Black Men of Chicago. In West Chicago we worked with Neighborhood Food Pantries and in the state capital, Springfield, we worked with the Springfield Urban League. 

Lauren Jackson, a student on Chicago’s south side who will begin high school this fall said “Thank you for giving me this device, because it will help me in the future.”  

We’re excited for Lauren and each laptop recipient, because connecting to the internet is connecting to greater possibilities in life. 

Special thanks to our collaborators who offered their perspectives on Illinois Connectivity Day: 

Allison Katarski, Compudopt COO: “We are so very thankful to AT&T, whose unwavering support has been instrumental in helping to empower families across Chicagoland and beyond with the tools they need to thrive in today’s technology-based world.  We are honored to serve our communities in partnership with AT&T, providing devices to 521 families on 5/21 for AT&T Illinois Connectivity Day.” 

Christa Hamilton, UCAN CEO: “These laptops will empower the people we serve by encouraging their sense of independence, and that is important for many who are challenged by their histories of trauma. We’re grateful for the partnership between AT&T and Compudopt that led to this new connectivity and look forward to seeing how our clients better grow and thrive because of the access to these computers.”  

David Day, 100 Black Men of Chicago Board Chairman: “With the ever-increasing importance of technology in today’s world, access to laptops and digital resources has become essential for young people to thrive academically and professionally. Your donation will undoubtedly make a significant difference in the lives of the recipients, opening up new avenues of learning and opportunities for growth.” 

Karen Freeman-Wilson, CUL President and CEO: “We are very grateful for the Illinois Connectivity Day donation. Through this generous gift, we can assist our clients in improving connectivity and it is consistent with the League’s efforts to bridge the digital divide. Eileen Mitchell and the AT&T team are tremendous partners to the Chicago Urban League.” 

Marcus Johnson, Springfield Urban League President and CEO: “Technology is more than equipment; it’s a gateway to opportunities. With AT&T and Compudopt’s support, we’re not just distributing devices; we are unlocking potential and sparking innovation in our community. This effort is part of our ongoing commitment under the Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion to enhance broadband access. 

Kate Monteleone, Neighborhood Food Pantries Executive Director: “For the more than 80,000 people in DuPage County who often don’t know where their next meal is coming from, the digital divide is very real. These laptops can be life-changing with newfound access to online healthcare, education, or workforce resources and development. This new connectivity will have a significant impact on their day-to-day experiences, and we are pleased to partner with AT&T and Compudopt to make this resource available to neighbors that visit our six food pantries for help with their nutritional needs.” 

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