OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – November 29, 2018 – Sprint (NYSE: S) CEO Michel Combes and the 1Million Project Foundation today announced new, significant investments to support Kansas City area high school students who lack home internet access and struggle to keep up with their peers. Combes outlined a drastic expansion of the 1Million Project Foundation’s (1MPF) effort to give free devices and internet access to every high schooler in the KC Metro who does not have reliable broadband service at home. The program will expand locally from four districts to 17, and will nearly double the number of KC area student participants to a total of 6,400.
At an event hosted by Kansas City Public Schools at Central Academy of Excellence attended by Kansas City Mayor Sly James and superintendents representing ten KC area school districts, Combes also offered details on Sprint and the 1Million Project Foundation’s partnership with Best Buy to open a Teen Tech Center in the area to provide local teens with access to free technology and training needed for future success.
“Education is the foundation for success in life, and not having access to the internet when you go home each day from school can greatly hinder a student’s ability to complete homework, conduct research, and apply for jobs and college admission,” said Combes. “Sprint is a company that cares deeply about its customers and communities, and that is why we are helping low-income students here in Kansas City by supporting the 1Million Project and joining forces with Best Buy. The 1Million Project’s mission is to connect 1 million high school students nationwide, and this morning – right here in our hometown – marks an important milestone on that journey.”
Sprint first launched the 1Million Project Foundation in August 2017. During the 2017-2018 school year, the 1Million Project served 113,000 students nationwide, and this school year, an additional 150,000 students will receive a free mobile device and free internet access. The initiative helps to address the homework gap that affects high school students living in the more than 5 million households across the country lacking high-speed internet access.
In Kansas City, MO, approximately 24% of households do not have internet access, and that number climbs to nearly 33% in Kansas City, KS. Last school year, the foundation worked with four local school districts to help 3,400 students by providing them the essential digital tools they need to access the internet anywhere, anytime just as most of their classmates do. With the expansion announced today, 13 new school districts and 3,000 additional students will join. KC Area 1Million Project Foundation school districts include (* indicates new participants):
- Belton School District #124*
- Blue Springs R-IV School District*
- Blue Valley School District*
- Center School District #58*
- Grandview C-4 School District
- Hickman Mills C-1 School District
- Independence School District
- Kansas City, KS Public Schools*
- Kansas City Public Schools
- Lathrop R-II School District*
- Liberty 53 School District*
- North Kansas City Schools*
- Ottawa Unified School District 290*
- Rich Hill R-IV School District*
- Spring Hill School District*
- Tonganoxie Unified School District 464*
- Turner Unified School District #202*
Additional interested Metro-area schools can apply online for the program.
“Investing in the education of Kansas City’s children is fundamental to the economic development of our city,” said Mayor James. “Equipping our students with the digital tools required to be successful in today’s globalized world is absolutely essential to preparing them to be productive citizens in the first-class workforce of tomorrow.”
“Thanks to Sprint and the Sprint Foundation, we’ve been able to provide WiFi internet access for hundreds of KCPS students. And we are extremely grateful to everyone who has made this possible,” said KCPS
Superintendent Mark Bedell. “We must address the needs of the entire family when it comes to digital literacy. That’s why our community and business partnerships like this one are so important.”
Best Buy plans to build new Teen Tech Centers in seven cities across the country. Sprint and the 1Million Project Foundation will proudly sponsor the center in Kansas City. Best Buy will build the center and local nonprofits will be invited to apply to house and operate it. The Teen Tech Centers provide a safe space for teens in underserved areas to drop in after school and have access to the best technology while they do their homework and learn new things like photography and robotics.
Sprint and the 1Million Project Foundation will also team with Best Buy and the Clubhouse Network to develop Kansas City’s first Best Buy Teen Tech Center. The Center will provide young people from underserved communities with free hands-on, year-round tech access and education in an after-school setting, through activities like 3D printing, coding, photography, video production and more.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Sprint and the 1Million Project Foundation to provide the youth of Kansas City with access to the training and tools they need to further their education and prepare for tech-reliant careers,” said Andrea Wood, Head of Social Impact at Best Buy. “Kansas City joins a growing national network of locally-based centers that will expand to 60 locations across the U.S., Canada and Mexico by 2020.”
Best Buy Teen Tech Center RFP applications for youth-serving, community based nonprofit organizations in Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas) are being accepted from now through February 1, 2019. More information, including eligibility requirements, a download to the RFP and RFP submission can be found at http://www.theclubhousenetwork.org/bestbuy.
About Best Buy Teen Tech Centers
Best Buy Teen Tech Centers provide free after-school programs in a creative learning environment where teens can explore, build confidence and gain employable skills through access to state-of-the-art technology such as 3D printers, virtual reality, digital media, robotics and coding. Each center addresses the opportunity gap by giving youth access to tech education opportunities, relationships that help to build confidence, and a foundation for school and career success. A partnership with The Clubhouse Network connects members to a global community of over 100 clubhouses in 20 countries. By 2020, 60 Best Buy Teen Tech Centers across the U.S., Canada and Mexico will enable nearly 20,000 teens annually to experience technology through year-round, after-school programs.
About The 1Million Project Foundation
The 1Million Project Foundation will help 1 million high school students who do not have reliable Internet access at home reach their full potential by giving them mobile devices and free high-speed Internet access. Today’s learning environment requires 24/7 internet access in order to study, learn, explore and complete school work from home. Students who cannot connect when they leave school are at disadvantage, and their chances of staying on track in school are greatly limited. By working with school districts across America, the 1Million Project Foundation seeks to remove a significant hurdle in these students’ lives by ensuring they have the same access to the internet as any other student so that they too have a fair shot at achieving their full potential. For more information, visit www.1MillionProject.org.
Sprint (NYSE: S) is a communications services company that creates more and better ways to connect its customers to the things they care about most. Sprint served 54.5 million connections as of Sept. 30, 2018 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; leading no-contract brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Today, Sprint’s legacy of innovation and service continues with an increased investment to dramatically improve coverage, reliability, and speed across its nationwide network and commitment to launching the first 5G mobile network in the U.S. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.