The New York Yankees Diversity and Inclusion Committee — which identifies, engages and addresses issues related to equality, racial justice and inclusivity — today announced a program in partnership with T-Mobile to benefit New York City Department of Education (DOE) students, as facilitated by the Fund for Public Schools (The Fund). The Yankees will donate $1 million toward the activation of one year of free unlimited internet service to nearly 11,000 devices being distributed in Bronx schools for the 2021-22 school year.
Distribution of the devices with this service began at the start of this school year, and they are being provided to students in need across all grade levels.
After the first year, these devices connected as a result of the Yankees’ donation will continue to receive free internet service for an additional five years through T-Mobile’s Project 10Million. The unprecedented $10.7 billion program offers free internet service and free mobile hotspots to under-connected households with school-aged children, aiming to reach up to 10 million eligible households over five years. The program offers school districts free and highly subsidized data plans that they can provide to their students for free.
The New York Yankees Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which was formalized in September 2020, was the result of an extended period of planning and collaboration with community leaders and within the Yankees organization to determine the appropriate framework for imparting meaningful and long-lasting change. This Committee’s mission focuses on identifying and combating disparities and systemic inequities that obstruct socioeconomic fairness and progress for marginalized groups.
Earlier last week, Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman, Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jean Afterman and Senior Vice President of Corporate/Community Relations Brian Smith were joined by Yankees Hitting Coach Marcus Thames, Bullpen Coach Mike Harkey and centerfielder Aaron Hicks in surprising ninth and 10th-grade students at the Bronx School for Law & Finance (X284) via Zoom to have a conversation about the importance of education and technology. Highlights may be found here: https://twitter.com/Yankees/status/1442486403774963721.
To further celebrate the implementation of the initiative, the Yankees are providing the New York City Department of Education with 3,000 tickets for students and their families to attend the Yankees-Rays game on Friday night, October 1.
“The inability to afford internet connectivity in the home is an insurmountable modern-day barrier to receiving full access to education and a stark impediment for upward mobility, rendering a significant amount of students’ homework and group activities impossible as well as limiting the capacity for children to learn about the world beyond their neighborhoods,” said New York Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate/Community Relations Brian Smith. “This resource deficit was further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic as financial difficulties for low-income and working families reached an apex and classes were moved online. In speaking with community leaders over the last year and a half, they stressed that addressing this disparity that should be put at the forefront of our outreach efforts. With the full support of the Steinbrenner family, we called on our partner, T-Mobile, and were ecstatic to learn of their enthusiasm and commitment to improving student connectivity in underserved communities, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the direction this has taken.”
“Though things are slowly returning to a new normal, equitable access to the internet outside the classroom remains critically important, and that’s why we’re excited to use the power of T-Mobile’s network to empower the next generation,” said Mike Katz, President of T-Mobile Business Group. “Students who don’t have the tools they need are left behind which makes it harder for them to stay motivated. Programs like this partnership and Project 10Million are crucial in leveling the playing field to ensure all students have the same access to opportunity.”
“I’m thrilled to kick off this partnership with the Yankees and T-Mobile which will support thousands of Bronx students and their learning during the critical school year ahead,” said New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “This is a home run for our families and furthers our goal to provide every child with the resources they need to succeed in today’s digital world.”
“As we welcome our students back to schools, the need for devices and internet access at home continues to be necessary for many students and families, and this contribution will allow students to fully participate in their own education outside of the classroom,” said Julie L. Shapiro, CEO of the Fund for Public Schools. “The New York Yankees and T-Mobile have been strong partners to The Fund and NYC DOE throughout the pandemic and we are excited to continue our work together by providing free unlimited internet service to more than 10,000 Bronx students.”