United Way of Metro Chicago and Comcast are helping get more Cook County residents online and connected to essential resources.

Bridging the digital divide is crucial for building thriving communities. For more than a decade, supporting its local communities to advance digital equity has been one of Comcast’s top priorities. And Comcast continues to accelerate its work through Project UP, the company’s comprehensive $1 billion initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities. Comcast has been a longstanding partner with United Way and continues to share its resources and offer solutions to closing the digital divide that furthers its commitment to the communities the company serves.

Comcast’s Internet Essentials, a key component of Project UP, provides low-cost, high-speed internet service to eligible low-income households. Since it launched in 2011, the program has helped more than 10 million Americans – 1.9 million in Illinois – connect to broadband at home. Comcast continues to deepen its impact through the program by partnering with United Way of Metro Chicago and our Neighborhood Networks in Cicero and Brighton Park.

“We know that access to the internet, along with the tools and information necessary to participate and succeed in today’s increasingly digital world, are crucial to closing the digital divide,” said Jourdan Sorrell, Comcast’s regional senior manager of external affairs. “Comcast is proud to continue our partnership with United Way and the Neighborhood Networks to help more Chicagoans harness the power of the internet.”

Through the partnership, Comcast is providing information about Internet Essentials and the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides eligible low-income households up to $30 a month toward the cost of Internet service, to Parent Mentors and residents in Cicero and Brighton Park. Parent Mentors serve as a trusted resource for other parents and families in the community, and they can help residents learn digital literacy skills and get connected to high-speed internet at home.

Parent Mentors are also using new laptops donated by Comcast to enhance their own training and better serve residents in Cicero and Brighton Park.

“The laptops donated from Comcast are being used by Parent Mentors to connect to their weekly state trainings. This is helpful because some Parent Mentors do not have the devices needed for connectivity at home,” said Elida Ortiz, director of the Cicero Community Collaborative, the nonprofit agency leading the work of the Cicero Neighborhood Network. “Our coordinators also use the laptops to complete reports and fill out FEMA applications to assist community members that have no access or could not maneuver the website.”

Comcast will continue to deepen its commitment to digital equity through these partnerships in our Neighborhood Networks – and through the launch of additional Lift Zones in the coming months. Lift Zones are WiFi-connected spaces in community centers where children can get online to do schoolwork and adults can get online to learn new digital skills, search for jobs, and access and array of services.

There are Lift Zones in 48 community centers across Chicago and more than 1,250 nationwide. Comcast is working with United Way and our nonprofit partners to identify additional Lift Zone locations in the city.

These impactful initiatives and our work together with Comcast and community partners like Cicero Community Collaborative are helping bridge the digital divide. Together, we’re committed to driving digital equity and ensuring that all residents are connected.

Join us and help build a stronger, more equitable Chicago region.