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Partnership for a ConnectedMN

BUILDING A MORE EQUITABLE, RESILIENT STATE WHERE EACH AND EVERY STUDENT CAN LEARN, THRIVE, AND PROSPER.

Partnership for a ConnectedMN is a public-private partnership to bring tech devices and internet access to students across the state, especially communities most in need, including students who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color, students from low-income families, and students residing in rural Minnesota.

Grants Awarded

To address digital inequities faced by students in Minnesota, Partnership for a ConnectedMN announced on September 23 that it has awarded $2.1 million in grants to 23 nonprofits serving the connectivity needs of students and their families. ConnectedMN grants will serve an estimated 68,000 students and families in urban and rural communities, who will gain access to computing devices, critical support services and the internet.

Among the 23 organizations stepping up to ensure distance learning success through ConnectedMN grant funds are 16 nonprofits, one tribal entity, and six rural-based Minnesota Education Technology Network members serving numerous school districts across multiple counties. With these resources, grant recipients are providing access to devices, internet connectivity, supportive mentors, coaching, and tech support.

Grants have been awarded to:

  • Aeon
  • Austin Aspires
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Leech Lake Area
  • Centro Tyrone Guzman
  • Change Inc.
  • East Central MN Education Cable Cooperative
  • FamilyMeans
  • Haven Housing
  • Itasca Area Schools Collaborative
  • Little Crow Tele-media Network
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation - Duluth
  • Minisinaakwaang Leadership Academy
  • MN Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs
  • Neighborhood House
  • New Vision Foundation
  • Northfield Healthy Community Initiative
  • NW-LINKS
  • Port Group Homes
  • Project FINE
  • Project for Pride in Living
  • ResourceWest
  • South Central Regional Area Telecommunications System / South Central Service Cooperative
  • Southwest West Central Service Cooperative

Review Committee

Grant recipients were chosen by a review committee comprised of community members with a broad range of geographic, community and education and education technology expertise.

Organizations represented in the review committee process include: 100 Rural Women, Blandin Foundation, Growth & Justice, Minnesota Business Partnership, Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance, New Vision Foundation, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, Saint Paul Public Schools, and Southwest Initiative Foundation.

The Challenge

Minnesota’s stark opportunity gap and digital access disparities have always been unacceptable. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closures have magnified longstanding, systemic inequities.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) estimates that at least 25,000 Minnesota students still lack the tech devices and high-speed internet access essential for academic learning, out-of-school activities and critical services such as telehealth.

Communities of color and Indigenous communities across the state are disparately impacted in ways that further compound these complex issues: 24% of residents of color in the state reside below the poverty line (compared to 6% of white residents), and 30% of African-American students in the state perform at grade level, compared to 65% of their white peers.

Without action to address digital access disparities, Minnesota students will continue to face challenges when learning at school and at home. We must act now to ensure affected students in Minnesota don’t fall even further behind.

Our Goal

Our goal is to bring together corporate, philanthropic and individual donors so that:

  • Students in high-need communities have tech devices, ensuring more equitable access to educational resources – now and in the future
  • Young people in both rural and urban communities have solutions to the lack of reliable, affordable broadband access
  • Students and providers have the tools to connect and engage around school, physical and mental health and future career pathways

Progress So Far

Over $2.7 million has been committed to date.

Join a growing group of supporters, including:

  • Accenture
  • Allianz Life Insurance Company
  • Andersen Corporation
  • Best Buy
  • Blandin Foundation
  • Boston Scientific
  • Bush Foundation
  • Comcast
  • Ecolab Foundation
  • EY
  • F. R. Bigelow Foundation
  • Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation
  • Land O'Lakes
  • Mardag Foundation
  • Minneapolis Foundation
  • Minnesota Business Partnership
  • Protolabs Foundation
  • Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
  • Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
  • Securian Financial
  • SPS Commerce Foundation
  • Vantage Financial
  • Xcel Energy

Partnering for Impact

Founding Partners:

  • Best Buy
  • Blandin Foundation
  • Comcast
  • Minnesota Business Partnership
  • Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation

In collaboration with: the Office of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan

With support from Collectivity

Get Involved

Those committed to quality education for every Minnesota student are encouraged to join in this effort in whatever way you are able. We welcome donations from individuals and foundations to help us reach more students and supply them with the tools they need to succeed.

Individuals

All donations are tax deductible and will be channeled through the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, the host of the fund.

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Foundations and Organizations

For inquiries and questions, complete our contact form.

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