Charter Communications said Wednesday that it doubled its original commitment to digital education programs in 2020, awarding $1 million in grants targeted at organizations that provide broadband education, technology and training.
The program, called the Spectrum Digital Education Grants, was launched in 2017. Charter said it has awarded 48 grants to nonprofit organizations for programs including teaching seniors digital skills, setting up technology labs, providing online classes for families that need homework and job support, and purchasing laptops for underserved groups. Additionally, Charter boosted the number of organizations the company originally planned to support this year due to increased demand for broadband training in the pandemic.
“Through Spectrum Digital Education, Charter is helping to bridge the digital divide in local communities where our customers live and work,” said Charter vice president for Community Impact Rahman Khan in a press release. “Providing these resources, with the help of our community nonprofit partners, allows us to empower those in need and further our mission to give individuals the necessary tools to excel in the digital age, skills that are more important than ever during this challenging time.”
With this year’s grants, Charter has surpassed its multi-year commitment to award $6 million in cash and in-kind donations to support broadband education across its 41-state service area. This year’s recipients are from 15 states and Washington, D.C., and were chosen from 259 eligible applications. Recipients include nonprofits working to empower disadvantaged residents in towns and cities, boost small businesses in rural areas, provide computer assistance to senior citizens, and organizations that meet educational needs for children, including those experiencing homelessness and remote learning challenges. From its launch in 2017 through July 2020, Spectrum Digital Education has benefitted 41,706 individuals in 17 states and Washington, D.C.
Spectrum Digital Education is one of several programs Charter has initiated to help local communities, including Spectrum Housing Assist, which has improved more than 44,000 homes to date, with a goal of 50,000 homes by the end of the year; Spectrum Scholars, a two-year scholarship initiative for college juniors who are underrepresented and in financial need; and Spectrum Employee Community Grants, which supports Charter employees’ volunteer activities. Through the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund, Charter has committed to investing $16 million to support loans to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in the company’s footprint, and to support Black and other minority-owned small businesses.
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.