Just over two weeks ago, the ARPS PGOs (parent guardian organizations) launched this fundraiser to ensure that all Amherst and Amherst Regional public school students have home wifi access during the school shutdown. We have now raised enough to cover the costs not only for the rest of this school year, but for next year as well. Thank you all for responding so quickly and generously to this campaign! Your donations will help close the digital divide and provide more equitable educational access for all ARPS students.
If you are able and would like to give further to support our local community, here are two nonprofits that also need help during these challenging times:
Give to the Amherst Survival Center’s COVID-19 Response Fund. As unemployment reaches record highs, the number of households requesting Survival Center services, including hot meals and groceries, has quadrupled and will no doubt continue to grow. Direct financial contributions give them the flexibility to respond to these increasing needs.
Donate to the Downtown Amherst Foundation Relief and Resiliency Microgrant Program. The Amherst Business Improvement District (Amherst BID) has created the Downtown Amherst Foundation and is looking to raise $500,000 to support local small businesses that have been forced to close or reduce services due to COVID-19. In a recent BID survey, two dozen Amherst restaurants and other businesses indicated that they may need to close permanently if they can’t get economic support.
Thank you and stay healthy,
The ARPS PGOs
We launched this fundraiser on April 3 and reached our goal of $25,000 in just 4 days due to the community’s support - wow! We thank everyone who has contributed so generously to our campaign at such a challenging time.
However, we now understand that the need for home wifi access for students will extend well beyond this school year, especially for middle school and high school students. After speaking with the ARPS school district, we have extended our campaign goal to $45,000 to help fund this longer-term need. This goal is based on expected costs for next school year.
We know there are many local families struggling right now, as well as other critical needs in our community and are grateful for all donations. We appreciate your helping us close the digital divide and your support for more equitable access to learning at home. Thank you again!
Here’s our initial campaign message:
Students need internet access in their homes in order to fully benefit from the distance learning now being offered by our public schools in this time of crisis - but we know that about 100 families in the Amherst Regional school district do not have the financial means to pay for it. We’re asking for your help in closing this gap as soon as possible.
With public schools closed until May 4, and quite possibly longer, the state is requiring school districts to provide distance learning opportunities to all students. Having no internet access at home is a major barrier to accessing this learning.
Based on this state mandate, and in support of the district’s equity goals, the ARPS District is loaning mobile wifi hotspots with monthly data plans to families unable to pay for them (as well as Chromebooks if needed) so that all students can fully participate in the district’s online classes and class meetings for as long as our schools remain closed.
The district estimates the cost of these hotspots and monthly data will be close to $25,000. The ARPS PGOs are helping the district by raising money to contribute to the cost. This is an unexpected, unprecedented and critical need. We know this is a difficult time financially and emotionally for many families. If you are able to contribute, here’s how you can help (all donations are tax deductible):
* Sponsor a student by funding a mobile hotspot for at-home distance learning ($110)
* Fund one month of wifi access ($40)
* Make a monthly, recurring donation to provide ongoing wifi access ($40/month)
* Make a general donation
Thank you for helping provide all ARPS students with equal access for distance learning.
The ARPS PGOs