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MISSION SA: USAA Foundation helps to close digital divide on city's west side

The USAA Foundation is helping to close the digital divide on the city’s west side. The non-profit organization gave a $325,000 grant to help SAISD students.

SAN ANTONIO — The USAA Foundation is helping to close the digital divide on the city’s west side. The non-profit organization recently gave a $325,000 grant to the San Antonio ISD foundation to help students continue virtual learning.

The pandemic forced schools to close its doors across San Antonio. Since March, San Antonio ISD has provided students with devices and hot spots to conduct learning online. As new kids enroll in the district, the SAISD Foundation is anticipating a need for more resources. The district said the per capita income is less than $14,000 and 54.6% of homes have internet access.

The SAISD Foundation set a goal of $1 million and has $160,000 left to raise to hit the mark. The $1 million will provide internet access to students for a year.

“We estimate two students per hot spot. So, it has the bandwidth for two students. It’s 4,000 hot spots for 8,000 students for one year of access,” explained Judy Geelhoed, executive director of SAISD Foundation.

Credit: SAISD Foundation

The USAA Foundation, a non-profit organization that’s sponsored by USAA, gave a $325,000 grant to support SAISD’s mission. Justin Schmitt, AVP of corporate responsibility at USAA, explained how the foundation contributes to the military and local community.

“As a company, we prioritize roughly 1% of our pre-taxed income annually to support needs in society. So, that comes to roughly $40 million a year and we focus on supporting the military community nationally, as well as San Antonio,” said Schmitt. “Likely, there is going to be an on-going need that will stay with us to some degree. If we can create more equity and access now, and for that to be sustainable into the future, that’s going to create an equal playing field for students.”

Credit: SAISD Foundation

“We have had over 250 individuals in our community who have made a gift towards the campaign. Teachers, friends, family, community, so I want to recognize that there are large and small gifts that are making this happen. But, absolutely, the USAA foundation is the biggest and the brightest and we could not be more grateful,” said Geelhoed.

Other groups that contributed to the SAISD Foundation include Spurs Give, Wells Fargo and Tech Bloc.

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