HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--School is almost back in session, and today Reliant and the Deshaun Watson Foundation announced a $175,000 donation to Comp-U-Dopt to help bridge the “digital divide” and support hundreds of Houston students who will begin the school year with virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to a $150,000 donation from Reliant, the electricity company is once again teaming up Houston Texans quarterback, Deshaun Watson, who is providing an additional $25,000 through his foundation. As a result of this initiative and others, 500 K-8 students from Houston’s Near Northside will receive computers to keep, and Reliant will also fund afterschool student programming with Comp-U-Dopt for the next three years.
“Students and families are facing a significant challenge this school year and we at Reliant are working to help children get the technology they need to continue their education from home,” said Elizabeth Killinger, president of Reliant. “We care deeply about our youth and their success, which is why we are teaming up with Comp-U-Dopt and the Deshaun Watson Foundation to make a difference near term and for years to come.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has required students and families to adapt quickly to online and distance learning as face-to-face instruction plans are carefully phased in. School districts in the Houston area have made great effort to supply students with the appropriate technology, but the logistics of purchasing and distributing devices may leave some without access for several months. The “digital divide” is significant and especially true for students from low-income families, many of whom don’t have access to the technology needed for online learning.
“Education is critical to success, and right now, it’s more challenging than ever before for students to stay plugged in to learn,” said Deshaun Watson. “I’m excited to partner with Reliant and Comp-U-Dopt to help ensure local students have the access they need to their classrooms, teachers and peers.”
According to the Pew Research Institute, 46% of low-income families lack access to a computer at home and census data points to approximately 13 million families across the United States facing the same challenge. Since Comp-U-Dopt began its computer drive-thru program in March, more than 50,000 families from Harris County have registered for a computer stating they have no other way to access essential learning for their child.
As the pandemic and distance learning continues into the 2020-2021 school year, Comp-U-Dopt is working overtime to provide students tools to prevent them from falling behind. Over the past four months, Comp-U-Dopt has distributed more than 7,300 computers to Houston students in need of technology to effectively learn from home.
“Our organization was founded with the mission to bring technology access to underserved communities and promote STEM education,” said Colin Dempsey, Executive Director at Comp-U-Dopt Houston & Galveston. “The recipients of these desktops are families living at or below the poverty line who do not have a computer in their home and 83% are from households earning less than $50,000 annually with more than four people in the home.”
Reliant’s donation to Comp-U-Dopt is one of many ways the company is aiding pandemic relief efforts, including support for Houston Methodist Hospital, The Houston Frontline Fund, Friends For Life and more. The donation is also part of Reliant and parent company NRG’s “Powering Change” initiative, which has committed $1 million toward organizations and initiatives that combat racial inequities, injustice and related violence. For additional information, visit www.reliant.com/community.
Reliant powers, protects and simplifies life by bringing electricity, security and related services to homes and businesses across Texas. Serving customers and the community is at the core of what we do, and the company is recognized nationally for outstanding customer experience. Reliant is part of NRG, a Fortune 500 company that creates value by generating electricity and providing energy solutions to more than 3.5 million residential and commercial customers across the U.S. and Canada. NRG’s competitive residential electricity business, which includes Reliant, is one of the largest in the country. For more information about Reliant, visit reliant.com and connect with Reliant on Facebook at facebook.com/reliantenergy and Twitter or Instagram @reliantenergy. PUCT Certificate #10007.
About the Deshaun Watson Foundation
The Deshaun Watson Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of education, health, housing and other charitable causes to support families and youth in underserved communities. The Foundation was established in 2019 by Deshaun Watson. For more information, please visit https://www.deshaunwatsonfoundation.org or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/DeshaunWatsonFoundation, Twitter @DW4Foundation or Instagram @DeshaunWatsonFoundation.
Comp-U-Dopt is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2007 with a mission to provide technology access and education to underserved youth. To date they have distributed over 25,000 devices to students in need and delivered over 100,000 hours of technology education. Each year they serve 3,000-plus young people from economically disadvantaged families providing computers and quality STEM and workforce focused afterschool programming. They have programs in Chicago, Dallas, Galveston, Houston, New Orleans and Washington D.C. www.compudopt.org