For students across Arizona, remote learning meant math and science got even harder. Some 100,000 students lack the devices they need to keep pace with schoolwork in the virtual space.

$67,000 donation made by Desert Financial Credit Union to Laptops 4 Learning has helped to bridge this “digital divide” for 300 enthusiastic students and their families.

It’s why Desert Financial challenged their members, community and team with the promise to match $20,000 in donations to Laptops 4 Learning, a local nonprofit organization that provides quality refurbished laptops to students of all ages.

When Brenda Powell, Executive Director of Laptops 4 Learning received the check, she shared gratitude on behalf of the 300 students and foster youth from the Litchfield and Cartwright School Districts and the North Star Independent Living Center.

“We are all humbled and honored by the generosity and kindness of Desert Financial’s employees and members,” Powell said. During the check presentation, she also mentioned her own perspective as the first of eight children raised by a single parent.

“I personally know what it means to receive community support such as Desert Financial has provided for these students. We are honored to be selected as a vehicle for success for them,” she said.

Desert Financial was founded by schoolteachers more than 80 years ago. As a tribute to their legacy, the credit union has always supported teachers and education.

Even before the pandemic and the move to virtual school, there were thousands of kids across the state who needed laptops,” says Jeff Meshey, President and CEO at Desert Financial Credit Union. “We’re humbled by the work Laptops 4 Learning is doing to bridge the ‘digital divide.’ Their mission is very much in line with our passion for supporting education as a path to success. And we’re proud our members, community and team stepped up to help with such enthusiasm!”

Districts such as Litchfield Elementary School are especially appreciative of these donations. With more than 12,000 kindergarten through eighth-grade students in 16 schools (including six Title I schools) roughly 30 percent of their total student population is eligible for free and reduced meals. Further, 24 percent of families reported having no reliable devices at home to accommodate remote learning.

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