By Kathy Chouteau
Richmond Promise, a community-wide college success initiative dedicated to building a college graduating culture in Richmond, has launched a “Bridging the Digital Divide Campaign” to raise funding to equip student scholars with the personal computers they need to succeed academically.
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified a digital divide that is preventing numerous students from continuing or even commencing their post-secondary education, according to Richmond Promise. Amid the pandemic, the ability for students to engage in remote education is critical toward their future college success.
“One of the things that has become clear through our COVID support work is that one in three Richmond Promise scholars goes to college without a computer,” said Richmond Promise Executive Director Jessie Stewart.
“Going to college without a computer makes getting your degree nearly impossible,” Stewart added. “That’s why…we are launching a campaign to ensure every Richmond Promise Scholar begins or continues college this fall with a computer.”
As part of its already-underway campaign, Richmond Promise’s goal is to raise $200,000 to purchase and distribute 500 computers for its scholars by this fall. The organization has 500 new scholars starting college at that time. To donate to the campaign, click here.
“Our goal is for this to become a pillar of what we promise to any Richmond Promise scholar in need moving forward,” stated Stewart.
In 2016, Richmond Promise launched due to a $35 million, 10-year investment by Chevron Richmond. The funds are part of a $90 million community benefits agreement between the city of Richmond and Chevron connected to the $1 billion Refinery Modernization Project. It provides high school seniors from Richmond and North Richmond up to $1,500 annually (over four years), along with college guidance and other resources, to help them earn a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or Career and Technical Education (CTE) certificate from an accredited four-year university or community college.