BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns, as part of the “Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day” Network, announced the organization will be distributing $350,000 to East Cleveland City Schools to address educational needs and create more equal learning opportunities for students in the district.
The distribution was also part of the NFL’s Inspire Change grant program.
“We firmly believe that education is the key to success for Northeast Ohio and all of our shared communities,” said owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam in a press release. “Our family and the Browns remain dedicated to providing educational resources and opportunities to schools and students, and we greatly appreciate our players’ and coaches’ significant contributions to this collective effort that will benefit East Cleveland City Schools. Every child deserves equal access to a high-quality education, and we all must continue to unite together and address any and all existing barriers, including those related to the digital divide.”
East Cleveland City Schools will receive the $350,000 donation that comes from player, coach and team contributions and will help provide families, students and teachers with tools, training and equipment needed to enhance educational efforts in the district.
One of the tools the money will go towards will be additional Chromebooks for students as many are still adjusting to remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the additional Chromebooks, we can ensure accessibility of all students during this difficult time and provide everyone with reliable access to the curriculum,” Amanda Stanoszek, a teacher at Shaw High School, said in a press release. “The hotspots and internet access are an investment in our students and our community that will make a tremendous difference. Thanks to the Cleveland Browns for all they have done, we are EC!”
The Browns organization isn’t stopping with East Cleveland City Schools. As part of the “Stay in the Game!” Network, the team will partner with 16 school districts in 2020-21 school year, benefiting more than 110,000 students across Ohio.
On Sunday, some Browns players will wear “Stay in the Game!” t-shirts during pregame warm ups to show their support for the program and bring awareness to the negative impact of chronic absenteeism and the lack of educational equity facing students in the area.
“A lot of times, we do not understand the basic needs and necessities that people on a day-to-day basis do not have access to. A lot of times, we feel like everybody has access to a computer, a laptop and internet access, but that is not always the case, seeing the numbers and seeing how staggering the divide was in certain homes that had no internet connectivity at all and no access,” said Browns DT Larry Ogunjobi in the press release. “Being able to really attack the digital divide and get internet connectivity to the homes and to people is going to help us really bridge that gap because a lot of these kids go home and do not have the access that they need and they are falling behind. It is not due to them not wanting to work but just due to the fact that they do not have access. Being able to help these kids is extremely important and pushing the envelope for what we want to do as far as bridging that gap.”