Edison International today announced a $520,000 donation to the California Bridging the Digital Divide (BDD) Fund, a statewide effort to provide students with equitable access to quality public education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation will result in hundreds of refurbished laptops and expanded internet access for school districts in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Tulare counties.
Edison International’s gift is comprised of an in-kind donation of 600 refurbished laptops, valued at $270,000, and $250,000 in cash grants.
“The COVID-19 crisis in K-12 education is taking a disproportionate toll on students, families and educators in our communities,” said Caroline Choi, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Edison International and Southern California Edison. “This donation will equip school districts in our service area with needed resources to support distance learning for thousands of students and teachers.”
The grants were paid using Edison International shareholder dollars, not SCE customer funds.
Two San Bernardino County schools — Twentynine Palms High School of the Morongo Unified School District and Clement Middle School of the Redlands Unified School District — will receive 400 and 200 laptops, respectively, with updated software for distribution to students. The laptops were previously used by SCE employees before they were refurbished.
The Farmersville Unified School District (Tulare County), Inglewood Unified School District (Los Angeles County) and Lake Elsinore Unified School District (Riverside County) will receive learning resources — hot spots, laptops and notebook computers — funded by Edison International’s cash grants.
The California BDD Fund is a joint effort of the Governor’s Office, the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education and the Californians Dedicated to Education (CDE) Foundation. Edison International partnered with the CDE Foundation, which purchased the learning resources in bulk using funds from Edison International’s cash grants. Based on initial survey data, the foundation identified the schools most in need and allocated the items accordingly.
The California BDD Fund seeks to address the digital divide to build more equitable teaching and learning environments, especially for special education, English learner, low-income and rural populations.
Elected officials responded positively to Edison’s International’s donation:
- State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-35), whose district includes Inglewood, said, “Inglewood students and their families have been working hard at the difficult task of adapting to distance learning, and I thank Edison for their meaningful support. The need for distance learning has proven that the digital divide is real in both rural and urban communities. As these students and Inglewood USD continue to respond to COVID-19 with safe, remote-learning methods, students deserve as much support as we can provide them. Edison’s support of this community is much appreciated.”
- State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-14), whose district includes much of Tulare County, said, “Keeping students connected to the internet and equipping them with laptops and technology is essential during the current pandemic. Edison's donation to the California BDD Fund will help equip students in Tulare County with what they need to virtually attend school. Without their help, many kids in my district would be unable to learn and grow.”
- State Sen. Melissa Melendez (R-28), whose district includes Lake Elsinore, said, “California’s response to COVID-19 has created many hardships, especially with regard to how we educate our children; families are not able to obtain the technology needed for virtual classrooms or have access to quality internet speeds. I thank Edison for their generous donation to ensure that children in the Lake Elsinore Unified School District have the tools they need so they can continue to learn.”
- State Assembly Member Devon Mathis (R-26), whose district includes most of Tulare County, said, “When life throws you a curveball, it takes relationships and partnership between government and the community to get the job done. I couldn't think of a better school district to receive this donation. Thank you to Edison and the (CDE) Foundation for giving these students a hand up.”
- State Assembly Member Chad Mayes (IND-42), whose district includes Twentynine Palms, said, “I’m very grateful for Edison International’s effort to step up and help close the learning divide as we continue navigating the challenges of distance learning. These laptops will assist in our shared goal of equitable learning opportunities.”
“We need to use technology as a tool to educate and not just for distance learning. Devices are part of how we do schooling in the 21st century,” said Wendy Dougherty, chief operating officer of the CDE Foundation. “We look at this as an opportunity to bridge the digital divide. Hopefully, we have raised awareness of this critical issue for the long term.”
About Edison International
Edison International (NYSE: EIX) is one of the nation’s largest electric utility holding companies, providing clean and reliable energy and energy services through its independent companies. Headquartered in Rosemead, California, Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison Company, a utility that delivers electricity to 15 million people across Southern, Central and Coastal California. Edison International is also the parent company of Edison Energy, a global energy advisory company delivering comprehensive, data-driven energy solutions to commercial and industrial users to meet their cost, sustainability and risk goals.