A Groundbreaking Initiative to Provide Free High-Speed Internet For Families in Need
The first two years of ‘Chicago Connected’ will be majority funded by philanthropic partners, including $7.5 million from Ken Griffin, $5 million from Crown Family Philanthropies, $2.5 million from the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund (through Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago), $2 million from Illinois Tool Works, $1.5 million from the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, $500,000 from the JPB Foundation, and $250,000 from the Joyce Foundation.
“Internet connectivity is a lifeline to education and opportunity – extending learning beyond the classroom and opening pathways for development and wellbeing. With ongoing access, every student and their family – regardless of economic circumstance – will be better positioned to pursue a brighter future. I hope ‘Chicago Connected’ will inspire other communities across the country to come together to eliminate the digital divide.” – Ken Griffin, Founder and CEO of Citadel
In addition, a joint commitment of $750,000 from President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust to the Children First Fund (CFF), the independent partnership and philanthropy arm for Chicago Public Schools, will support efforts by community-based organizations (CBOs) on the South Side.
“Michelle and I want every kid in Chicago to grow up knowing even better opportunities than we had – and that requires full and equitable access to the best tools and resources. We’re happy to help Chicago Connected reach every kid in the city. This is where I found a purpose and a family – and it’ll always be our home.” – President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama
“No student or family should be cut off from opportunities to learn, connect, and thrive—especially at this moment when our devices have become our classrooms, doctors’ offices, and more. Chicago Connected represents a critical step on the path to equity for students city-wide.”– Barbara Goodman Manilow, Crown Family Philanthropies’ Board Chair
“This terrible pandemic has made it crystal clear that access to high speed internet is a critical element of our social safety net. Sadly, too many young Chicagoans and their families lack access to this powerful tool which improves educational, economic, social and health outcomes. The Pritzker Traubert Foundation is proud to support this vital program that will help connect nearly 100,000 of our young people to the many benefits that connectivity and collaboration can deliver.”– Penny Pritzker, Trustee, Pritzker Traubert Foundation and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce
These generous commitments, along with $5 million of CARES Act funding from the City of Chicago, will fund years one and two of the program. CPS will fund the program in years three and four of the initiative.