From L to R: Ross Nelson, vice president, Cox Business Northeast; Henry F. Winthrop, Mayor of Newport; Jay Allbaugh, senior vice president and region manager, Cox Communications; Marilyn Warren, executive director, MLK Community Center; State Representative Marvin L. Abney; Jamie Bova, chairwoman/Mayor elect, City of Newport; Chuck Stauffer, Cox Communications, vice president of field operations.

Newport, RI – Cox Communications announced the award of $40,000 in “Tech Boosts” grants to four organizations devoted to improving the lives of children and families through technology-driven education to empower them to better futures, including The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Newport. Cox also announced the application process for the 2019 Tech Boost program is now open.

The $10,000 “boost” will allow the MLK Community Center to purchase equipment to support the Make Your Life after-school program. Youth in the program gain access to STEAM programming including coding, robotics, Maker Space, Learning Studio, Dash and Dots and more.  Founded in 1922 and renamed honoring Dr. King in 1968, the MLK Community Center is a central service provider for at-risk individuals, families and seniors. An independent nonprofit, the MLK Community Center fights hunger, promotes health, educates young and school age kids, supports families, and engages seniors across Newport County.

“When you consider the larger-than-life role organizations like the MLK Community Center play in the lives of Newport children and families, it’s incredible how important it is to have them in our communities,” said Jay Allbaugh, senior vice president and region manager, Cox Communications. “We’re extremely proud to announce our Cox Tech Boosts, and excited to see how our community partners use these grants to grow their impact on the children and families in their reach.”

Recipients were recognized for their commitment to help reduce the “digital divide” for members of their community and provide educational opportunities beyond the classroom. The programs provided by organizations like the MLK Community Center serve many children who live in communities and neighborhoods at or below the poverty line. They provide a safe place for students to explore and learn outside of the school environment to help close the digital divide that exists in accessing technology.

“Among many different areas of strength, our center is recognized for its high-performing educational programs,” said Marilyn Warren, executive director, MLK Community Center. “When families enter our facility, they have many different stories as to why they are there – but they are united in wanting to see their children thrive, and this commitment from Cox will bolster our abilities to offer programs and tools that have a profound impact on our community’s youth.”

This is the first year for Cox Tech Boosts, and the program will continue, with Tech Boosts being provided on an annual basis. Potential applicants should demonstrate they have instituted programming that would benefit from new or updated technology in service to one of four focus areas: conservation and environment; health; early childhood education (birth to five years); and empowering families and individuals for success (basic needs, job preparedness). Organizations that meet these criteria can apply starting December 1 by visiting Technology needs can range from laptops and printers to more advanced technology like robotics equipment or 3D printers.

Other organizations receiving a 2018 Tech Boosts grant from Cox include Progreso Latino in Central Falls, RI; New Opportunities of Greater Meriden in Meriden, CT; and the Lakewood Library – Madison Branch in Lakewood, Ohio. In addition to pledging to invest in new technology resources, these organizations are also strong supporters of the Connect2Compete program, a low-cost internet offering from Cox provided to families with students in grades K-12 who are enrolled in a nutritional assistance program, like SNAP, or who reside in public housing.

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