MPS Foundation raising $1 million for student, teacher tech support

By Lauren Anderson -Sep 15, 2020 11:10 am

The Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation, Inc. is launching the second $1 million phase of its #ConnectMilwaukee campaign to provide tech support for student families and teachers. 

To meet the needs of more than 75,000 students and 5,000 teachers, the foundation said it’s focused on funding more IT staff, help desk support and training for teachers. The Northwestern Mutual Foundation has donated $25,000 to phase 2 of the campaign. 

As the district has shifted to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation said it’s exacerbated the digital divide between those who have internet access at home and those who do not.

“This year has shown us how difficult helping a child learn online from home can be,” said Wendell Willis, executive director of the MPS Foundation. “Providing equity means lessening the burden on our teachers and parents who have adapted very quickly and learned how to teach our children in a completely different way. When we provide the necessary support, training and tools, we know our students will be successful.”

The foundation exceeded the first $1 million phase of the campaign, which provided laptops and internet access to families in need. The foundation said it delivered more than 7,000 internet hotspots this summer. 

Significant gifts for the first phase of the campaign came from Green Bay Packers president and chief executive officer Mark Murphy and his wife Laurie, who gave $100,000, and the Zilber Family Foundation and Burke Foundation, which issued a $200,000 matching gift challenge for the campaign.