Comcast and Berrien County officials today announced the launch of new WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” at community-based organizations (CBOs) in seven locations across Berrien County. Lift Zones are safe spaces where children can get online to do schoolwork and adults can get online to learn new digital skills and access an array of services. The new Lift Zones are located at:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor, 600 Nate Wells Dr., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Buchanan Area Senior Center, 810 Rynearson St., Buchanan, MI 49107
Central County Senior Center, 4083 E. Shawnee Rd., Berrien Springs, MI 49103
Greater Niles Senior Citizens’ Center, 1109 Bell Rd., Niles, MI 49120
New Troy Community Center, 13372 California Rd., New Troy, MI 49119
River Valley Senior Center, 13321 Red Arrow Hwy., Harbert, MI 49115
Senior Citizens Center, 225 Colfax Ave., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
The COVID-19 crisis put many low-income students and families at risk of being left behind and accelerated the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them. The Lift Zones are part of a larger multi-year plan by Comcast to support community-organization-based WiFi at more than 1,000 Lift Zones throughout the country – including in Berrien County. The Lift Zones complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, a low-cost Internet adoption program for low-income families, which has helped connect more than 10 million people in America – including 720,000 in Michigan alone – to the Internet at home since it was launched in 2011.
In addition to the Lift Zones, Comcast announced the donation of a total of 140 laptops to the Berrien County Lift Zone partner CBOs, and $10,000 to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs for club members.
“Digital literacy and Internet access are crucial to our daily lives and necessities to succeed in today’s digital world, “ said Berrien County Commissioner Teri Freehling. “We appreciate Comcast’s continued investment in Berrien County communities and in its long-term efforts to close the digital divide.”
“Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor is proud to partner with Comcast and other community partners to launch Lift Zones in Southwest Michigan,” said Mackenzie Kastl, Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor Chief Executive Officer. “We are grateful for Comcast’s continued support of the Club and our STEAM programs. The new Lift Zone will help us further advocate for digital literacy and support our goal to offer youth in our community the tools and resources they need to excel.”
“Through Internet Essentials, Comcast has helped hundreds of thousands of Michigan families cross the digital divide,” said Debra Piscola, Comcast’s Senior Director of External and Government Affairs in Southwest Michigan. “I’m proud that Comcast recognized the impact of the digital divide early on, stepped up and now continues to offer solutions that further our commitment to communities through the creation of Lift Zones.”
Project UP and Comcast’s $1 Billion Commitment to Advance Digital Equity
For over a decade, connecting more people to the Internet and the technology they need to participate and excel in an increasingly digital world has been a core focus for the company. Looking toward the next ten years, Comcast is building on that foundation and expanding its impact through Project UP, a comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities. Today’s announcements to promote digital equity in Berrien County are part of Project UP.
Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach 50 million people, Project UP encompasses the programs and community partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators. For more information on Project UP and the latest news on efforts to address digital inequities visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up.