MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A coalition of philanthropy, business, and nonprofit organizations today announced a significant milestone in the goal to provide every California foster youth with their own computer.
The coalition said today it is now 25% of the way to its goal of providing a laptop to all 10,000 eligible foster youth in California after receiving new financial contributions from the Ticket to Dream Foundation and donations of computers from a number of corporations. The new funding and donations will result in 1,000 more laptops being distributed to California foster youth. The financial contributions and donations total 2,500 laptops committed following earlier significant commitments by Foster Care Counts and the Walter S. Johnson foundation.
Since announcing the initiative in May 2016, iFoster has provided over 600 computers to foster youth. Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") has provided over 9,000 Windows and Office licenses to iFoster to date, and will be donating software on every refurbished device distributed to foster youth.
The announcement was made at the Hack Foster Care Summit in Mountain View, where 250 people from Silicon Valley tech companies, government agencies, non-profits, community-based organizations, foster youth and alumin are meeting to develop innovative tech-inspired solutions to help foster youth.
"Because of the generosity of our partners, 1,000 more California foster youth will have their own computers, making a dramatic difference in their lives," said Reid Cox, co-founder of iFoster, which is leading the laptop initiative. "We are now 25% of the way to our goal of providing 10,000 laptops – one for every eligible foster youth in the Golden State. We invite every organization and individual who wants to help improve the lives of foster youth to join us in this ground-breaking campaign."
Fewer than 20% of foster youth in California have access to a computer where they live, compared to 90% of teens overall in the U.S. When foster youth are provided with a computer, not only do grades and class attendance improve, but self-esteem and life satisfaction increase, while depression drops, according to recent research.
Gina Davis, President / Executive Director of the Ticket to Dream Foundation, said: "We are so pleased to be joining this effort to provide foster youth with the technology they need. This past year we surveyed 180 of our non-profit foster care partners across the country to determine their greatest deficits. The overwhelming response was the need for computers to help youth succeed in school. Knowing iFoster, and the fantastic programs it runs, our Board has enthusiastically approved joining the coalition to provide laptops in California and other States to ensure foster youth have the tools they need to thrive."
Jeanne Pritzker, founder and chair of Foster Care Counts, said: "The evidence bears out that if students have their own laptops, their success both in school and in life as a whole is positively impacted. We are thrilled to see so many joining together to ensure that foster youth will have the same chance for success as so many others."
Brian Van Weele, Ex-Director, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, said: "It is very encouraging to see the impressive progress and growing support for the computer initiative. We invite more philanthropy and corporate sponsors to join us in achieving this important and achievable goal."
Yali Lincroft, Program Director, Walter S. Johnson, said: "Our goal is much greater than providing every youth in California with a computer, it is to prove to the federal government that technological parity should be a priority for existing funds in child welfare. We have engaged USC to evaluate this expanded effort to make a case for child welfare to adopt the program to ensure all children in every state receive the right technology at the right time."
Thea Smith Nilsson, Bay Area Citizenship and Philanthropy Manager at Microsoft commented, "Microsoft is honored to host the Hack Foster Care Youth Summit. Innovative solutions are key to improving the lives of youth in foster care, and access to technology can help these young adults prepare for success in the classroom and in the workplace. By working together, we can develop collaborative tools that empower an entire community."
For more information about the program please visit iFoster.com, or call 1.855.936.7837.
Reid Cox, iFoster
Children in foster and kinship care deserve the same resources and opportunities for success as young people being raised by biological parents. Tragically, foster youth receive on average less than 50% of what the USDA reports the average American family spends on raising their children.
iFoster is a national non-profit that bridges the gap between youth in the child welfare system and the external corporations, foundations and government agencies who have the resources to help them succeed. iFoster has built the largest and most inclusive online community of young people and organizations in foster care with currently over 40,000 members in all 50 states. On behalf of the community, iFoster negotiates and collaborates with hundreds of partners who can provide the resources, supports and opportunities that foster youth need to become successful adults.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2500-computers-committed-to-california-foster-youth-innovative-program-adds-partners-increases-commitments-300413527.html