BellSouth Foundation to Donate $20 Million to Virtual Learning
The BellSouth Foundation, the charitable arm of the Atlanta-based communications company, announced plans last month for a $20 million effort to improve access to online learning.
The campaign will cover the nine Southern states that BellSouth Corp. serves and will help fund state-led virtual learning programs while seeking to expand computer access to children in poor areas. The foundation was created in 1986 and designed to focus on improving education.
“We wanted to be sure all kids, not just the privileged, could be part of the virtual learning movement,” says foundation president Mary Boehm.
BellSouth currently offers service in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Florida and Tennessee.
In addition to helping bankroll and coordinate state virtual schools, the foundation will target specific low-income neighborhoods.
In Atlanta’s Carver community, a pilot site for the effort, volunteers will help create a school of technology and will work with middle and high school students on programs like job shadowing and an online algebra course.
The foundation hopes to create at least eight similar sites, one in each state.
Since its creation in 1986, the foundation has funded more than 622 grants and operated numerous initiatives, with a total investment of more than $56 million. The $20 million for the virtual learning program will be spent over five years, Boehm says.
Boehm said the foundation’s board decided more than a year ago to pick one specific aspect of education and focus on it almost exclusively. Virtual learning was the area the board chose.
— Associated Press
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