Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper, the John M. Belk Endowment, and the David Belk Cannon Foundation announced a $1M gift to the CMS Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. The gift will be used to purchase six thousand mobile hotspots with six months of prepaid internet services for students without access to home connectivity.
The David A. Tepper Charitable Foundation made a gift of $650,000. The John M. Belk Endowment contributed $250,000 and the David Belk Cannon Foundation contributed $100,000.
The CMS Foundation launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund on Monday to meet the critical needs of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ students and families while schools are closed due to the coronavirus. Ensuring students had internet connectivity to access online learning opportunities was identified as an immediate need. The CMS Foundation partnered with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and local nonprofit Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D) to secure a deal for the mobile hotspots and prepaid service.
“Today’s gift is an inspiring example of what can happen when groups come together. We know that this gift and every single donation from our community will help us address critical needs in our school district at this unprecedented time,” said CMS Foundation Executive Director Sonja Gantt.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools serves more than 148,000 students and is the second largest school district in North Carolina. The district allowed students in fourth through twelfth grade to take home the laptops they use in school.
“We all understand that internet access is no longer a luxury. It is essential. This gift addresses an equity issue in our community, and I am truly grateful to these three organizations for leading the way in this time of crisis and helping us meet this need. Their generosity will have a meaningful impact on our students,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston.