At least three hundred Talbot County families can now have internet access thanks to $88,000 raised by the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation’s “Digital Divide Campaign.” Among the 250 donors were numerous local businesses. “The support of the local business community has been outstanding,” said Laura Heikes, Education Foundation Board Chair. “It is very apparent that equitable access to education for all students in Talbot County is a unifying priority.”
Photo: Laser Letters joins the many generous donors who have supported The TCPS Education Foundation’s Digital Divide Campaign. (left to right) David Short, Education Foundation Treasurer, Judi and Bud Loscomb, Laser Letters, and Dr. Michael Fisher, Board Member.
Easton Utilities took the lead by developing and subsidizing a special program for TCPS families in their service territory who are unable to afford internet connection. While the Foundation Board worked to raise private funds to offset the remainder of the cost, schools began connecting families with Easton Utilities for installation. It was a tremendous team effort. TCPS is also working with other local internet providers who serve outlying areas. By exceeding the initial goal of $60,000, they can now devote funds to the more challenging work of connecting students in the most remote and underserved areas of the school district.
With the first day of virtual instruction approaching, Julia Foxwell, Director of Community Outreach for Bluepoint Hospitality, reached out on behalf of owners Paul and Joanne Prager to learn more about the purpose of the campaign and plans for the funding. Mr. and Mrs. Prager decided to “close the gap” by making a generous leadership gift to meet the $60,000 initial goal. “Mr. and Mrs. Prager are thrilled to be able to help local students in this way,” Ms. Foxwell explained.
Judi Loscomb, TCPS Alumnus and owner of Laser Letters, explained why their business supported the campaign, “I need my kids in Talbot County to graduate ready to compete in a digital world,” she said. “While many parents are able afford internet connection, there are an awful lot who cannot.”
Photo: Paul and Joanne Prager, owners of Bluepoint Hospitality, made a leadership donation to “close the gap” to meet the Digital Divide Campaign’s initial goal of $60,000. (left to right) Education Board members Dr. Michael Fisher and Lindsey Higginbottom; Allie McGuckian, Marketing and Public Relations, Bluepoint; Rebecca Firth, Ph.D., Board Vice Chair, Laura Heikes, Board Chair, Julia Foxwell, Director of Community Outreach, Bluepoint; David Short, Education Foundation Treasurer.
The following Talbot County businesses have supported the Digital Divide Campaign as of 9/7/2020:
Bluepoint Hospitality/Paul and Joanne Prager
Centers for Specialized Dentistry – John V. Louis DMD
Ceylon Auto Traders
Charles T. Capute, LLC
David L. Short and Associates
Dr. Computer/Carol Gonzalez
Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam
General Roofing/The Gardner Family
Hill Hospitality/Caulk Management
Lane Engineering, LLC
Law Offices of Thomas T. Alspach
Mr. Philip C. Foster, Esq.
Orion Safety Products
Paris Foods Corp.
R.W. Baird – Cheryl Palumbo
Schneider Home Theatre
Shore United Bank
The Hopkins Group, LLC/Juanita Hopkins, Esq.
Tri-Gas & Oil
Photo: Easton Utilities, Talbot County Public Schools and the TCPS Education Foundation all joined forces to get students “plugged in” for virtual learning for the start of school on September 8. (left to right) Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools; Steve Wilson, TCPS Director of Technology; Ted Book, Director, Easton Velocity; John Horner, Vice President of Operations; Hugh Grunden, President and CEO, Easton Utilities; Rebecca Firth, Ph.D., Dr. Michael Fisher and David Short, TCPS Education Foundation Board Members.
Many individuals and private foundations have also contributed. Donations are still being accepted for the Digital Divide Campaign and other Education Foundation initiatives and may be made online at www.tcpsedfoundation.org or by mailing a check to The TCPS Digital Divide Fund, ℅ The Mid-Shore Community Foundation, 102 E. Dover Street, Easton, MD 21601. For more information, contact Debbie Gardner, Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs at 410-822-0330, ext. 102.