Comcast Announces $250,000 Grant for Digital Navigators at 26 CPL Branches

Photo caption: LEADERS from Comcast and the Chicago Public Library at the presentation of Comcast’s $250,000 grant to the CPL Foundation for Digital Navigators. Pictured from left to right: Jo Ann Willis, Austin Branch Manager, Chicago Public Library; Linda Johnson Rice, president of the board of directors of the Chicago Public Library; Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson; Carl Jones Jr. (back), Comcast regional vice president of government and external affairs; Broderick Johnson, Comcast executive vice president of public policy and digital equity; Chris Smith, regional senior vice president of Comcast, and Chris Brown, commissioner of the Chicago Public Library.

National and local Comcast leaders joined Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Chicago Public Library (CPL) Commissioner Chris Brown on September 19, 2023 to announce a $250,000 donation to the Chicago Public Library Foundation to fund digital navigators at the city’s 26 library branches.

Digital Navigators are professionals who connect Chicagoans with resources that can help them develop the digital skills they need to succeed in school, participate in the workforce, and connect to programs that can help them access and pay for broadband Internet services. their homes, including:

• Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a federal program that can provide up to $30 per month toward the bills of eligible households with Internet and cell phone coverage;

• Chicago Connected, which provides free Internet service to families with Chicago Public Schools students. And

• Internet Essentials, a Comcast program that provides low-cost in-home Internet service to eligible low-income families, including students of all ages, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and public housing residents. Internet Essentials has helped nearly 900,000 Chicagoans get online at home since its launch in 2011. ACP can cover the full cost of Internet Essentials, making it free for eligible households.

“The digital divide disproportionately impacts Chicago’s South and West Side communities and has profound, detrimental impacts on our youth and our students,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “I am proud to stand here with the Chicago Public Library, Comcast and our community partners to announce additional efforts to eliminate this long-standing barrier to achievement and employment, and help Chicagoans thrive in the 21st century.”

“More than a decade ago, Comcast set out to close the digital divide. We envisioned a network of community partners and programs that would give Chicagoans the tools to become exceptional in the 21st century: broadband internet, computer and digital skills training,” said Broderick Johnson, Comcast executive vice president of public policy and digital equity. “Since then, the city, libraries, Comcast and hundreds of community organizations have begun the journey to make digital equity a reality in Chicago, and we have made significant progress.”

“Today in Chicago, our libraries are more than just books—they are gateways to the digital world. Everyone deserves the skills to thrive online,” said Commissioner Chris Brown. “Thanks to Comcast’s invaluable support, we are making progress on this. Beyond technology, it’s about equipping every Chicagoan with the tools and confidence for a promising future.”

This latest donation complements a $500,000 grant Comcast provided to the foundation from 2017 to 2019 to create “experience labs” at 11 CPL locations. Experience Labs are designated spaces where community organizations and other service providers can provide digital skills training and other services to library patrons.

Comcast will also donate 1,000 laptops to 10 Chicago nonprofits.

In keeping with the city’s recent efforts to help more residents afford computers, Comcast also announced plans to donate 1,000 laptops to 10 community nonprofits in Chicago to give to the people they serve.

Below is a list of CPL chapters that will use Comcast funding to support digital navigation devices, as well as city nonprofits that will receive laptop donations.

CPL branch and its areas: Austin; The back of the yards; Chicago Lawn; Douglas; Edgewater; Greater Grand Crossing; Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Loop; Humboldt Park; Kelly; Englewood; King, Bronzeville; Legler Regional, West Garfield Park; Small village; North Austin; Trainer; Richard M. Daley, Humboldt Park; Rogers Park, East Rogers Park; Sherman Park, Englewood; South Chicago; South coast; Sulzer Regional, Lincoln Square; Thurgood Marshall, Auburn-Gresham; Toman, Little Village; West Chicago Avenue, Austin; West Englewood; West Pullman; and Woodson Regional in Washington Heights.

Nonprofit organizations and their respective districts: Access to accommodation, close to the north side; Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago Little Village Club, Little Village; Community Outreach Bright Star, Grand Boulevard; BUILD Chicago, Austin; Chicago Urban League, Grand Boulevard; Chinese American Service League, Chinatown; Obama Foundation, Hyde Park; PODER, Gage Park; YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, West Rogers Park; and YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in Woodlawn.

The announced grant funding and laptop donations are part of Project UP, Comcast’s 10-year, $1 billion commitment to help make digital equity a reality in the communities the company serves in Chicago and other locations where it operates. To that end, Comcast has made more than $91 million in cash and in-kind donations to community organizations in Illinois over the past three years, primarily to initiatives aimed at promoting digital equality. Additionally, starting in 2020, Comcast is partnering with community organizations to create Lift Zones—safe spaces where kids and adults can access free high-speed Wi-Fi and learn digital skills. Today, there are elevator zones in 48 community centers throughout the city and more than 1,250 nationwide.

“Comcast serves all 77 Chicago neighborhoods, and we provide the same service and the same level of service in each one, regardless of zip code.” said Carl Jones Jr., Comcast regional vice president of external and government affairs. “This has allowed us to expand Internet Essentials, Lift Zones and our other digital equity programs into neighborhoods across the city and help hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans harness the power of the Internet.”

For more information about Internet Essentials and ACP and program eligibility requirements, visit, call 1-855-8INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) or visit your local Xfinity store . Visit for information about Comcast’s local digital equity efforts and presence in Chicago.

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