UP Education Network, a nonprofit organization that partners with school districts, parents and staff to significantly improve formerly struggling Massachusetts schools, today announced that Bain Capital has contributed $100,000 to strengthen digital equity for all UP scholars. The contribution will provide UP Education Network’s students across five schools with devices, adequate internet access, and more IT support, ensuring every student successfully learns from home for what could be the remainder of the school year.

The transition to remote learning during the pandemic highlighted the digital inequity among students, especially those in underserved communities. According to a study by Pew Research Center, 59% of parents from economically disadvantaged communities who had children in schools that were remote at the time said their children would likely face at least one of three digital obstacles, including having to do schoolwork on a cellphone, no reliable internet connection at home, and no access to a computer at home. UP Education Network has been working to address digital inequity in the Boston-area community, developing new and unique systems and partnering with companies to provide their students, teachers, and families with what they need for effective remote learning.

“This generous donation from Bain Capital will benefit so many of our students, teachers, and families,” said Veronica Conforme, CEO of UP Education Network. “While the unprecedented learning challenges brought on by the pandemic remain significant, this contribution will allow us to move forward and focus on our students’ education, knowing they have the necessary infrastructure needed to handle the reality of remote learning.”

“Digital inequity is a prevalent and significant issue that will persist beyond the pandemic, and we are proud to support UP Education Network in their efforts to keep students learning,” said Greg Shell, a Managing Director of Bain Capital and member of the UP Board of Trustees. “With up to 20% of UP’s scholars lacking adequate internet to support remote learning, this is a long-standing problem of inequity highlighted by the pandemic. These issues have and will continue to impact our communities without the proper support.”

Currently, UP’s Boston schools are reassessing plans to reopen utilizing a hybrid learning model, starting with high needs students, then phasing in the rest of their K-8th grade students over the coming weeks where families opt in, and if the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate falls below 4%. They will continue to provide a remote learning option likely through the end of the school year.

Source: BainCapital