A Public and Private Partnership Will Connect 35,000 K-12 Student Households to Free Internet

Jump-Start Fund Pledges $1 Million for the Citywide Internet Initiative

The City of Philadelphia has launched PHLConnectED, a collaboration of business, nonprofit, philanthropic, and civic institutions to connect up to 35,000 low-income K-12 student households with free internet service through a combination of Comcast broadband and T-Mobile hotspots. The goal is to enable every student in the city to participate in virtual learning when schools start up again this fall. Schools across the city have committed to providing Chromebooks or other devices to families that need them, and PHLConnectED will provide digital skills training and tech support for families.

PSP helped spearhead the collaboration and development of this program, and the Jump-Start Philly Schools Fund pledged $1 Million toward the citywide internet initiative. Leadership funding for the Jump-Start Fund comes from Janine and Jeff Yass (The Susquehanna Foundation), with additional support from The Lenfest Foundation, Connelly Foundation, The McCausland Foundation, Horner Foundation, Hamilton Family Charitable Trust, Chappell Culpeper Foundation, The Vanguard Group Foundation and George Rosskam.

In total, philanthropic partners are contributing over $11 million to help fund this first two years of PHLConnectED—which has a total cost of $17.1 million. Comcast Foundation is the biggest contributor, pledging $7 million. William Penn Foundation, the Lenfest Foundation and the Neubauer Family Foundation each pledged $1 million. The City is contributing $2 million from CARES Act funding, and the remaining costs will be shared among the School District, public charter schools, and participating private schools, as well as other donations.

The Jump-Start Fund was organized by PSP in April at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the immediate needs of low-income students and families across the city during the school closures. Initial grants from the Fund helped more than 130 public charter and private Catholic schools supply laptop computers to 15,000 students who need them for learning at home.

“Regardless of where they live in the city or what type of school they attend, students must have the opportunity to continue their learning,” said Janine Yass, a co-founder of Boys Latin Charter School and board member of PSP. Her husband, Jeff, is founder and managing director of Susquehanna International Group LLP and the Susquehanna Foundation. “We are committed to supporting educational opportunities for all children, and in a crisis like this that starts with ensuring students can participate in online schooling and communicate with their teachers,” Janine added.

This map that shows the distribution of the Chromebooks across the city.

List of Donors (Updated 8/7/20):

$2.7 million – Janine and Jeff Yass (The Susquehanna Foundation)

$1 million – The Lenfest Foundation

$250,000 – Connelly Foundation

$200,000 – The McCausland Foundation

$200,000 – Horner Foundation

$200,000 – Hamilton Family Charitable Trust

$50,000 – Chappell Culpeper Foundation

$35,000 – The Vanguard Group Foundation

$15,000 – George Rosskam

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