Earlier this year, we committed to investing more in communities of color across the country to help create an equitable society. The commitment includes a multi-year plan to allocate $100 million to fight injustice and inequality directed against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ability.
As a part of these efforts, we are working with organizations focused on eradicating injustice and inequity nationwide. Locally, we are partnering with community-based organizations across Washington state to support their mission.
And while grants and funding are a part of this work, we are even more passionate about the new programs we are creating with local organizations through a collaboration with our local Comcast Black Employees Network (BEN). The Comcast BEN team is comprised of employees of all levels and functions and is designed to provide a supportive and collaborative environment for those who identify with Black communities or for those who seek to be active allies, as well.
The Black Employees Network is one of several of these employee groups Comcast has created. The company also has groups focused on supporting Asian Pacific Americans; people with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer employees; Hispanic/Latino employees; veterans; women; and young professionals.
The Comcast Washington BEN team identified organizations in communities across the state that are creating impactful solutions to advance people of color that could benefit from grant assistance, as well as a deeper collaboration with local employees who are active in their community.
In Spokane, our team connected with the Carl Maxey Center and its Executive Director Sandra Williams. This organization is building a new, sustainable, and technologically innovative hub on 5th Avenue in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood, which will be committed to changing lives and improving the well-being of Spokane’s African American community by expanding the educational, economic, and cultural opportunities that are currently available. The Carl Maxey Center has completed the capital campaign for Phase I of its building remodel and anticipates re-opening its doors in mid-2021.
We instantly connected with Williams and her goal of helping to expand educational opportunities for local Black youth. With Comcast’s resources and background in connecting families and students to Internet and technology resources, and The Carl Maxey Center’s current efforts partnering with Spokane County and the City of Spokane’s Rental Assistance Fund, we knew we had a similar passion and vision for making a lasting impact on this community.
After extensive planning and collaboration, we are unveiling a new program designed to equip and empower Black youth in Spokane – the Comcast Student Tech Fund.
Executive Director Williams believes this partnership can have an impact on the people the Carl Maxey Center serves. She also hopes this is the beginning of a lasting partnership with the Spokane Comcast team and its employee group.
“This new program is something we are very excited about because we know there are families and students within Spokane’s African American community that can truly benefit from these resources,” she notes. “The pandemic has had a devastating impact on students from communities of color, and access to technology and resources can play a supporting role in helping to bridge this gap. We appreciate the Comcast Black Employees Network for connecting with us on this partnership and look forward to working with them to help students and families and create a lasting impact on our community.”
Through this new program launching in 2021, any families receiving benefits from the Spokane Rental Assistance Fund can apply to receive remote learning equipment and technology to support distance learning for those with students in the Spokane County School District. Over the next year, we hope to impact more than two-dozen students and families through this program.
In addition to this program, we are working with the Carl Maxey Center to support the community by providing things like low-cost internet connectivity, subsidized computers and other hardware, and more via our www.carlmaxeycenter.org.
We hope to share more news and updates on this growing partnership and the students impacted in the coming months.
For more information about the Comcast Internet Essentials Program visit www.InternetEssentials.com.
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