NEW BALANCE FOUNDATION PROVIDES $375,000 TO SUPPORT REMOTE LEARNING, TECHNOLOGY AND FOOD ACCESS FOR STUDENTS
Funding will Advance Equity in Education and Food Security for Underserved Maine and Massachusetts Children Amidst Pandemic
BOSTON, MA., January 6, 2021 – New Balance Foundation (NBF) announces a second round of COVID-19 pandemic relief grants totaling $375,000 to charities in Massachusetts and Maine, including West End House Boys and Girls Club, Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, Merrimack Valley YMCA, Dorchester Boys and Girls Club, SquashBusters, Good Shepherd Food Bank and Maine School District 54.
Boston-based New Balance Athletics, Inc. has footwear manufacturing facilities in Boston, Lawrence and Central Maine. The grants will address the increasing inequities related to COVID-19 across education, technology access, and food security in communities dealing with hybrid or fully remote teaching models.
“Children from these communities already face higher levels of poverty, lack access to technology vital for remote learning and may not have adult presence to navigate online classes and assist with homework due to parents’ need to work to support the family,” says Anne Davis, managing trustee, New Balance Foundation. “Additionally, with many afterschool organizations currently closed or serving smaller groups of youth, children who rely on school and afterschool organizations for meals are now at greater risk of going hungry. New Balance Foundation has endeavored to close gaps in equity for 40 years and are proud to support our local communities in these unprecedented times.”
To address the widening gap in educational access and food security, non-profit organizations like the West End House, Lawrence and Dorchester Boys & Girls Clubs and the Merrimack Valley YMCA quickly reworked their operations to open Remote Learning Hubs for students-in-need. The Remote Learning Hubs allow for safe, physically distanced, supervised learning during the school day hours. In addition to learning and technical support, students also receive fitness breaks, enrichment and healthy meals throughout the day.
The grants from New Balance Foundation will help sustain the charities and their programs and serve kids from January through March 2021.
“The New Balance Foundation investment in our community’s Learning Hubs is a lifeline that gives our families the educational, social and emotional support vital to keeping their children engaged, healthy and academically on track while parents deal with job demands and other family dynamics heightened by the pandemic,” says Dorchester Boys & Girls Club president and CEO Bob Scannell.
In Maine, where COVID-19 rates have been lower, schools face other challenges. As Maine School District 54 moved into hybrid learning, they encountered unexpected costs associated with digital learning. The New Balance Foundation funds will enable the district to purchase subscriptions to digital books, websites, and other tools that students need; digital support services for reading and math to replace or supplement tutoring; and digital tools to communicate with students.
As part of its Youth and Family Initiative, Maine’s Good Shepherd Food Bank partners with more than 210 public schools, early childhood centers, and college campuses to provide easy, consistent access to nutritious food for students and their families.
“These funds will help school food pantries provide consistent access to nutritious food for 2,000 families. Our school partners not only serve as food distribution sites in vulnerable areas but are also a vital community resource hub where families feel welcomed, supported, and safe,” says Kristen Miale, President of Good Shepherd Food Bank.
In total, New Balance Foundation has distributed more than $9 million in 2020, including annual Foundation grants and its first round of COVID-19 relief grants in Spring 2020 to help local, national and international organizations with immediate relief, including assisting with food access programs, operational costs and more.
About New Balance Foundation:
Established in 1981, the New Balance Foundation has served a deeply held mission: to drive change in our global communities with an enduring commitment to preventing childhood obesity and championing the future success of today’s youth. For nearly 40 years, New Balance Foundation has invested in research, and clinical, educational and community programs that promote healthy lifestyles, children's fitness and nutrition, and overall community wellness.
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