The Bears and PNC have teamed up to help one of the nation's largest school districts adjust to distance learning.
The Bears have purchased hotspots for 750 students in 11 schools located on Chicago's West and South Sides. PNC will provide 600 students with new laptops.
"During this unprecedented time, flexibility and access to the right technology is vital to the learning process," said Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips. "We're proud to partner with PNC to help supply CPS students at 11 schools with the laptops and internet connectivity necessary for online learning. Together, we will continue working towards our shared goals of assisting families in need and providing equal education opportunities for all."
The partnership with PNC is the latest in a series of collaborations between the team and the bank.
"We have had a wonderful history over the last five years of finding ways to partner with the Chicago Bears in support of early childhood education initiatives and, generally, opportunities to support youth," said Scott Swanson, president of PNC, Illinois. "Through that, and through the relationships we had with Chicago Public Schools and the Children First Fund, we realized that there was a real opportunity for us to bring our resources together to help to provide that much-needed equipment to students."
In light of the pandemic forcing schools to operate online, the inequality in technological access has reinforced economic disparities in the city, with some students lacking the internet access needed to continue their education.
"Beyond the contribution, for partnerships like this," said Rachel Orlowski, director of giving for the Children First Fund, "we really feel that it's inspiring for students to see prominent local organizations showing up for them and taking a vested interest in their education and their futures."
The distribution of devices will begin immediately.
The 11 participating schools are DuBois Elementary School in Altgeld Gardens, Kellman Elementary in East Garfield Park, Alex Haley Academy in Roseland, Langford Community Academy in West Englewood, Julian High School in Washington Heights, Phillips Academy in Bronzeville, Stagg School of Excellence in Englewood, Bradwell School of Excellence in South Shore, Fuller School of Excellence in Grand Boulevard, Chalmers School of Excellence in North Lawndale, and O'Keefe School of Excellence in South Shore.