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Power Up Grant Program

More than 16 million children in North America are growing up in poverty. For these children, learning to use technology through a quality education is pivotal to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Power Up:
Creating equal access to technology in the classroom

Today, more than 16 million American children (1-in-5) and one million Canadian children (1-in-6) are growing up poor. For these children, learning to use technology through a quality education is pivotal to breaking the cycle of poverty.

The barriers created by child poverty extend across home life, physical and mental health, education and career prospects. At-risk children typically experience delays in learning preparedness before they begin school and limited access to learning resources, mentors and support networks. To lift a child out of poverty requires a variety of interventions from infancy to adulthood, but the quality of development during the early years of childhood provides a critical foundation for their entire life journey.

Teachers from Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary, a public school in Dallas and recipient of a 2016 Power Up grant, talk about how access to technology is opening doors for their students.

Introducing young students to digital learning and technology in the classroom produces substantial improvements in their achievement, especially for at-risk students. According to Kwame Johnson, Executive Director of PowerMyLearning, Atlanta:

"Children living in poverty face significant academic barriers, so exposing them to technology and digital learning resources in school and in the home can be a game changer. Classroom technology fosters a love of learning, builds self-confidence, and develops the problem solving and collaboration skills critical to thriving in the 21st century. If low-income students are allowed to struggle early on, their chance of graduating high school on time and finding a meaningful career decreases significantly. By engaging them through early experiences with digital learning, the skills they learn will carry on through their entire K-12 experience and help prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow."

While technology is ubiquitous across North America, access to technology is not universal. Underfunding of public schools limits access to learning resources, books and technology. As a result, schools have come to rely on community and parent fundraising to bridge these funding gaps. This places schools in low-income neighborhoods at a particular disadvantage, since low-income families cannot contribute nearly as much as more affluent communities.

At Softchoice, we believe in unleashing the potential of people and technology. Through our Power Up program, we focus on providing students from low-income communities with equal access to technology and high-quality 21st-century digital learning. By increasing their access to technology today, we hope to help students develop the technical skills that will be critical to thrive in the careers of tomorrow.

Softchoice awards classroom technology grants of $10,000 each to 10 publicly-funded elementary or middle schools serving students from low-income communities in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto and Montreal (at least one grant will be awarded in each city).

Softchoice will award classroom technology grants of $10,000 each to 10 publicly-funded elementary or middle schools serving students from low-income communities in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto and Montreal (at least one grant will be awarded in each city).

The deadline for Power Up applications has now closed. Thank you to every school who submitted an application. Winning schools will be announced on December 1, 2017.

Questions? Contact Pete Morra, Community Investment Manager, at powerup@softchoice.com.

Spread the Word

Do you know an amazing teacher, or deserving school, who would benefit from a Power Up grant? Share Power Up with them today!

Media and Featured Coverage

In 2016, Softchoice and Lenovo put technology in the hands of more than 3,000 marginalized students across North America. Here are some of their stories.

Global News (Montreal)

Inside Toronto (Toronto)

Dallas Independent School District (Dallas)

Los Angeles Unified School District (Los Angeles)

Journal Metro (Montreal - French Language)

L.A. This Week (Los Angeles)

Program Partners

Power Up grants are funded through Softchoice employee donations and our generous program partners, Lenovo and VMware.

Contact a Softchoice Representative Now

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