Chattanooga area businesses have committed $100,000 to buy technology devices for Hamilton County Schools students, Chattanooga 2.0 and the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday.
Inspired by organizing efforts like We Over Me Chattanooga and overall community support, the organizations are working together to make sure students can still learn while school buildings are closed during the COVID-19 crisis.
Through a partnership that includes city of Chattanooga, the Benwood Foundation, Chattanooga 2.0, UTC, and the Enterprise Center, Hamilton County Schools and EPB are working together on efforts to boost community-based internet access to support students and families in distance learning.
Unum, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, Coca Cola Bottling Company United, First Horizon, TVA and Bridge Public Affairs provided funds to buy Chromebooks for Hamilton County students. The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga is also a key strategic partner and is managing the funds.
“The more we can support families in continued, at-home learning while schools are closed, the safer and more resilient our community will be,” said Molly Blankenship, executive director of Chattanooga 2.0. “It’s encouraging to see our community thinking creatively about solutions.”
“This collaboration provides hope to so many families," said Christy Gillenwater, president and CEO, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. “We are grateful to these creative businesses and foundations for focusing on students, namely given the challenging landscape currently facing all organizations.”
The funds will place Chromebooks in the hands of students who need support to continue their learning during this unprecedented time for the community. And with support from Hamilton County Schools, families will be able to access the internet safely, practicing social distancing while continuing their education online.
“Teachers and students have risen to the challenge of continued learning from home, and I am astounded by the new ways they are connecting and learning,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent, Hamilton County Schools. “This response from the community truly demonstrates that we are better together as businesses and organizations have gotten involved in such an important way to provide more opportunity for our students to stay smart while our school doors must remain closed.”
Families who need access to devices for their students or need help accessing an affordable internet connection may call 493-0350 or visit https://www.hcde.org/hcs-continued-learning/resources_for_families.