The San Francisco Unified School District and Spark* SF Public Schools have announced a $10 million gift from Twitter co-founder Evan Williams and his wife, Sara, in support of efforts to eliminate the digital divide among SFUSD students in need as district schools reopen with distance learning.
The gift will support the SF Unified Access initiative, which aims to provide students with computers and Internet access, as well as technology training and support for teachers, students, and families. According to SFUSD, 55 percent of the district's student population lives at or below the poverty line. Through a combination of donations and public relief funds, SFUSD has distributed thirteen thousand laptops and nearly four thousand WiFi hotspots since schools were forced to close due to COVID-19. The initiative seeks to raise $25 million to meet immediate needs and develop a permanent solution to tech inequity in San Francisco's public schools.
Longtime supporters of SFUSD, the Williamses gave $1.1 million in March to alleviate food insecurity among students and families most severely impacted by the pandemic.
"Taking a lead on this is important to us because we know inequity doesn't just happen. We let it happen," said Sara Williams. "Evan and I believe that change can only start when we provide equal access to education."
"We are extremely grateful to Sara and Evan for their vision and ongoing commitment to San Francisco public school students," said SFUSD superintendent Vincent Matthews. "With this generous gift, they are giving our students furthest from opportunity a chance to connect to each other and their teachers and to progress in their learning during this very difficult time. Equitable access to technology is an essential part of eliminating the opportunity gap now and in the future."
(Photo credit: GettyImages)