Comcast’s Lift Zone program is an extension of the company’s Project UP initiative, a 10-year, $1 billion commitment to making digital equity a reality in the communities the company serves. Digital equity is achieved through access to broadband internet, computers and the opportunity to develop digital skills. Born out of Project UP and Comcast’s desire to give communities equal access to digital learning, Lift Zones are spaces in community centers where families develop academic, professional, and personal digital expertise.
As of October 2022, Comcast has teamed up with nationwide nonprofit partners and city leaders to launch over 1,250 Lift Zones – each equipped with free internet connectivity and hundreds of hours of educational and digital skills content. In spaces like the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford, these Lift Zones serve an instrumental role in building digital equity.
In 2020, the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford became one of Comcast’s nationwide community partners and officially joined Comcast on its mission to close the digital divide. Over the past three years, Comcast has installed Lift Zones in all Boys & Girls Club of Rockford locations, from Blackhawk to Orton Keys. Rockford now has five unique, lively spaces where young community members can safely access the internet, an essential needed to propel their futures forward.
“Across our five locations, we serve up to 700 kids a day,” said Boys and Girls Club of Rockford President and CEO Chip Stoner. “At some time during that day, there’s no doubt that kids are benefiting from the Lift Zones.”
Each Lift Zone at the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford features plenty of space to work on laptops, desktop computers, and gaming stations. Whether completing schoolwork or building computer skills, students can take advantage of digital tools and reliable WiFi.
“Increased access to the internet means increased access to educational resources. Increased connectivity opens a world of possibilities,” said Comcast Government and Regulatory Affairs Manager, Joan Sage. “We’re excited to be part of the community through partnerships like this one with the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford.”
“The Lift Zones are there to even the playing field,” said Stoner. “With Lift Zones, our kids can do their homework, online work, and game throughout our buildings.”
While these Lift Zones are primarily used by Club members, their value extends beyond the students. Stoner explains that Rockford parents and guardians have also used the Lift Zones’ digital skills tools and secure internet to support their families.
“If parents receive state support or don’t have access to a steady internet connection, they have the ability to come out and fill out online documents – and to avoid the time and frustration caused by buffering,” Stoner said. “To expedite the process and to make it streamlined and straightforward has also helped our relationships with a lot of the families.”
As the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford continues to make the most out of these Lift Zones, Comcast is proud to be a part of their story and to have their support in creating a future of digital equity.
To learn more about the Boys and Girls Club of Rockford, visit: https://www.rgreatfutures.org/s/
For more information about Comcast’s commitment to closing the digital divide, including finding your nearest Lift Zone, please visit: https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/digital-equity/lift-zones