Bravo Family Foundation Provides Free Internet to Students Across Puerto Rico
Nearly 6,700 public school students benefit from Digital Education Access Initiative
SAN JUAN — The Bravo Family Foundation announced Wednesday that its Puerto Rico Digital Education Access Initiative, which provides equipment that facilitates free internet access to K-12 public school students in low-income communities, has expanded its reach to students in 20 additional municipalities islandwide.
Founded by Orlando Bravo, the Puerto Rican billionaire who co-founded and is managing partner of the Thoma Bravo investment firm, and his wife, Katy, the foundation’s philanthropic efforts are focused on its stated mission to provide “access to opportunities for personal growth and economic development” to “young people from all socioeconomic backgrounds.”
The foundation’s Puerto Rico Digital Education Access Initiative “is betting on technology as a foundation to strengthen student participation in education and their potential to improve their conditions and contribute to the economic development of Puerto Rico,” the published announcement reads.
The program began in November providing internet access equipment to students in multiple communities with little or no internet access in the towns of San Germán, Salinas, Arroyo, Loíza, Dorado, Adjuntas, Comerío, Villalba, Rincón, Sabana Grande, Coamo and Guayama, among others.
The Puerto Rico Digital Education Access Initiative collaborates with municipalities and community leaders who identify public school students who are still facing difficulties that hinder their ability to participate in distance learning.
“We continue to promote and open doors to our youth, this time through access to technology. Working together with community leaders and municipalities, we’re amplifying our outreach through this multi-sectoral support for the well-being and development of our communities,” Bravo said in the release.
The entrepreneur announced that the program will continue to reach out to students in more than 20 municipalities by mid-March, including Ciales, Patillas, Jayuya, Maunabo, Peñuelas, Culebra, Vieques, Corozal and Naguabo.
“Access to technological support resources in the education of our students is essential for our children and youth. In Puerto Rico, the unemployment rate for people between the ages of 15 and 24 years is about 24%, and that is precisely the same age group with the highest school dropout rate, often caused by a lack of access to resources and opportunities. Today, access to technological support resources for education is essential for our children and youth, who represent the future of our island,” the executive director of the foundation, Blanca I. Santos, said in the release.
“This initiative is very valuable to the town of Loíza,” added Loíza Mayor Julia M. Nazario. “These children that we are serving with this program, many of them in our communities had not been able to connect (to the internet) and are picking up materials at school to do their work.”