Andrews FCU Aims to Bridge Digital Divide for School Children
SUITLAND, Md.-In an effort to bridge the digital divide for school children from moderate income households without access to computers, Andrews Federal Credit Union has formed an alliance to close the gap.
The $737 million Andrews Federal Credit Union has partnered with One Economy, a national, nonprofit organization that provides low-cost Internet service, to bring affordable computer loans to qualifying applicants living in the Henson Ridge and East of the River neighborhoods of Southeast Washington. The loans will allow qualifying families with school-aged children to borrow the funds needed to purchase a name-brand computer, flat screen monitor, printer, and software. The interest from the loans will be used to establish savings accounts for the students when the loan is paid in full. This plan, according to AFCU President/CEO Michael Hale, will permit students to have access to the technological resources necessary to achieve in school. Hale commented that "this program will enable families to purchase new, high speed computers for their children. At the same time, they will be saving for their child's future." In addition, area students will be eligible for summer jobs, since young adults serving as "Digital Connectors," part of One Economy's national youth program, will be hired to help recipients with the set-up and installation of their new computers. Other partners in the project are the D.C. Housing Authority, Operation Hope and Marshall Heights Community Development. Ray Ramsey, CEO of One Economy praised AFCU for undertaking this effort. "AFCU is not only a respected financial institution but it has a tremendous sense of civic responsibility," Ramsey said. "We look forward to partnering with AFCU to improve the lives of the residents of this neighborhood."
The initiative aligns with a District of Columbia goal of providing low-income residents free or reduced-cost access to the Internet in their homes. AFCU's Hale saw a "perfect fit with the credit union philosophy of `people helping people' and AFCU stepped right in." "We are incredibly excited to work with One Economy in bringing a vital educational and technological resource to the Henson Ridge community," Hale said. "This is just another of the many ways AFCU serves this community. We look forward to many new partnerships and initiatives in the future." -firstname.lastname@example.org