Cincinnati Public Schools is deeply appreciative of grant funding awarded by public and private foundations that have generously demonstrated their commitment to our students' success.
Equity in Learning Begins with Access
In March 2020, Cincinnati came to know the global pandemic as a local crisis. Schools closed suddenly. Students were thrust into unstructured settings. Families faced financial setbacks, not yet known. In an environment of otherwise uncertainty, crystal clear truths regarding educational inequities rapidly emerged. The Internet was the path to distance learning, but it was a path of limited access.
During the first, quickly passing weeks of the pandemic, our nation became increasingly aware of the "digital divide." For years, the nation's poorest children have had unequal access to information, technology, and opportunities to learn, which exacerbates the well-documented achievement gap between white students, and Black and Latinx students.
In the Greater Cincinnati region, 16 percent of households lacked broadband internet access, according to National Center for Education Statistics data. Within the Cincinnati Public Schools community, as many as one in four student households lacked access.
By May 2020, Cincinnati community leaders and partners were acutely attuned to student needs within our region. They took action, launching Connect Our Students, an initiative to support full broadband coverage for all Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) students. The initiative aimed to complement CPS efforts to ensure that every student had a device, as well as necessary technical support.
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) was at the center of this successful effort, working arm in arm with Cincinnati Bell, ComputerXpress and a private donor, long esteemed for his community leadership.
With a goal of raising $700,000 to connect 8,425 students, living in 3,494 households, GCF provided overall coordination, as well as serving as the fundraising hub and fiscal agent for the project. By generously waiving administrative fees, GCF ensured that 100 percent of funds supported Connect Our Students, directly.
An encouraging $165,000 initially was raised thanks to the generosity of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Interact for Health, Children’s Hospital, Haile Foundation, and StrivePartnership.
The fundraising strategy also included corporate gifts, major gifts and individual gifts. Supporters could opt to sponsor a student household for $17/month; several households for an extended period of time; or an entire school, with costs ranging from $20,000–$50,000, depending on student enrollments.
Cincinnati Bell demonstrated its commitment to CPS students, offering broadband service of up to 20 mbps (where available), which is adequate for online learning. The total cost per household is $200 per year. The package includes equipment, and there are no installation fees. The service includes measures to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act to limit access to harmful content and ensure the safety of the children.
ComputerXpress (CXiT), a full-service IT company, initiated the project’s first pilot school by donating 27 computers to students enrolled at the Fairview-Clifton School and will continue to develop the pipeline for refurbished and new devices for schools in the area. In addition, CXiT has provided leadership for a task force to develop alternative ways to deliver broadband and simplify other issues of access.
A Sampling of Grants Currently Supporting Innovative Programs in Cincinnati Public Schools
Foundation Grants Contact
For information on available grants or to request help with a grant, contact:
Manager, Foundation Grants