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$28,000 United Way grant to be used for Chromebook purchases for students
United Way
Pictured are (front row, from left) Effingham County Schools Technology Director Jeff Lariscy, Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford, Effingham County Board of Education Chairman Lamar Allen, United Way of the Coastal Empire Board Chairman Larry Silbermann, (back row, from left), Ben Johnson of the Effingham County Board of Education, Lynn Anderson of the Effingham County Board of Education, United Way Area Director Elizabeth Waters, United Way-Effingham Advisory Board Chair Libby Kessler, Vickie Decker of the Effingham County Board of Education and Effingham County Board of Education Vice Chairman Troy Alford. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

 SPRINGFIELD — United Way boosted local education efforts in a big way Aug. 5

During a regularly scheduled Effingham County Board of Education meeting, United Way of the Coastal Empire announced that it has awarded the district a $28,000 grant to be used for the purchase of 100 Chromebooks to ensure that students in need have access to a quality education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “It is critical (that) we help our students succeed in every way we can, especially under the current circumstances,” said Larry Silbermann, vice president and general manager of WTOC-TV and chairman of the Board of United Way of the Coastal Empire. “Now more than ever, we must do our best to bridge the technology gap that limits access to learning. Our efforts to provide students with Chromebooks will help prevent students from falling behind.”

This award is part of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to support residents impacted by the pandemic. United Way has raised more than $620,000 and distributed nearly $500,000 to date to help families retain stable housing and provide financial assistance for additional critical needs. More than 1,400 individuals and families in the four-county region have been helped by United Way.

“We are blessed to have such a great partnership with our local board of education,” said Elizabeth Waters, United Way area director in Effingham County. (It has) historically been the United Way of the Coastal Empire’s largest pacesetter. Just last year, (it) raised over $81,000 for our annual fundraising campaign. We feel this is a great way to give back during their time of need.”

Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford expressed gratitude for the donation. Nearly 25 percent of the district’s students opted to stay at home and learn virtually during the first nine weeks of the current school year. The district has distributed more than 700 Chromebooks in recent days and needed more.

“We are so thankful for the United Way and what they do for our community,” Ford said. “(It has) been instrumental in helping the community for many years. I cannot thank Elizabeth and her staff enough for their generosity to our boys and girls.” 

Helping every child succeed in school is critical to the United Way’s mission. Early in the pandemic, United Way also granted $26,000 to Savannah-Chatham County Public School System to purchase 115 Chromebooks for students in schools with the highest levels of poverty.

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