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Roberts family donates $5M toward laptops for Philly students

PHILADELPHIA – The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia announced today it has received a $5 million contribution from Aileen and Brian Roberts, and their family, to give laptops to Philadelphia students so they can begin learning from home by mid-April.

According to a 2019 School District survey, only about half of third-through-12th-grade students have the equipment they need to begin participating in online lessons. This gift from the Roberts' will support the purchase of 50,000 Chromebooks which will help level the playing field and ensure that all students who attend the 220 District-led public schools across Philadelphia have the tools they need to learn at home. "We're living in an unprecedented time and COVID-19 is presenting our society with new challenges every day," said Aileen and Brian Roberts. "When we heard that many Philadelphia students weren't going to be able to learn from home without laptops, we quickly decided we wanted to help and provide these teachers, parents and students with the technology they need to begin learning online within just a few weeks. In good times or bad, now all of our Philadelphia students will have access to technology to help them succeed."

The 50,000 new laptops will be distributed along with the estimated 40,000 laptops already in school buildings to students and families. Once the equipment is received at the School District headquarters, it will be dispensed between April 13 and 17. During the interim two weeks, the laptops will be prepared for the students and the Philadelphia School District teachers will be trained to support distance learning.

Students and their families who don't already have internet access can get it through any Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Philadelphia. Comcast is currently offering low-income families who don't already have internet service two free months through Internet Essentials, which is the nation's largest and most comprehensive high-speed internet adoption program.

The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia identifies, coordinates and connects philanthropic resources to level the playing field in local public schools. The Fund's partnership with the School District of Philadelphia seeks to promote equity, safety, and improved performance.

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