The Fort Smith Boys & Girls Clubs celebrated the launch of a new technology-filled Innovation Lab at its Evans unit, made possible by a $20,000-grant from the James M. Cox Foundation.
The Cox Innovation Lab was welcomed with a grand opening ceremony held by the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Clubs of on November 17, 2022. The donation is part of a greater $150,000 gift from The James M. Cox Foundation to create five new Cox Innovation Labs across the nation, develop STEM programming and provide training for the Boys & Girls Club staff. The Innovation Labs are the cornerstone of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Club Tech program, which provide students access to curriculum to advance their computer literacy skills. These Innovation Labs also help bridge the digital divide for children without access to a computer or internet connection at home.
“The Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club appreciates the continued support of Cox. The Cox Innovation Lab provides new and innovative technology and support to help bridge the digital divide that exists for many young people in Fort Smith,” said Beth Presley, CEO of the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club. “It will give the children going to the Boys & Girls Club the freedom to explore their interest in STEM while providing those without a computer or internet access a way to get connected and manage through distance learning. It includes laptop computers, furniture, 3D printer, eSport, Wi-Fi and internet services provided by Cox.”
“A reliable connection to the internet is more important now than ever before,” said Tina Gabbard, Cox Vice President and Market Leader for Arkansas. “We’re committed to ensuring our children are connected at school, at home and right here at the Boys & Girls Club where so many children spend their afternoons. We look forward to the incredible achievements we’re going to see from all of these bright kids in the coming years.” In addition to the Innovation Lab grant, Cox has made great strides in expanding broadband access in Arkansas. Through community partnerships with organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs, Connect2Compete (C2C) and CARES Act funding, Cox is moving the needle on bridging the digital divide for families and students in Arkansas.
About Cox Communications Cox Communications is committed to creating meaningful moments of human connection through technology. The largest private broadband company in America, we proudly serve six and a half million homes and businesses across 18 states. We’re dedicated to empowering others to build a better future and celebrate diverse products, people, suppliers, communities and the characteristics that make each one unique. Cox Communications is the largest division of Cox Enterprises, a family-owned business founded in1898 by Governor James M. Cox.
About The James M. Cox Foundation, The James M. Cox Foundation is named in honor of Cox Enterprises’ founder and provides funding for capital campaigns and special projects in communities where the company operates. James M. Cox was Ohio’s first three-term governor and the 1920 Democratic nominee for president of the United States. The Foundation concentrates its community support in several areas, including: conservation and environment; early childhood education; empowering families and individuals for success; and health.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America for 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has provided a safe place for kids and teens to learn and grow. Clubs offer caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Boys & Girls Clubs programming promotes academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. More than 4,700 Clubs serve 4.6 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.