Computers for kids – Governments, foundations partner

A new national initiative, PowerUp, plans to build 250 computer labs in schools and community centers across the nation by the end of this year, the Washington Post reported August 16.

PowerUp aims to bring computers and the Internet to children in poor communities. The program was founded by Steve Case, the chief executive of America Online, his wife, Jean, and Colin Powell, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and AOL board member.

The Waitt Family Foundation, run by Gateway, Inc. chair Ted Waitt, has pledged 50,000 personal computers to the project, and America Online has promised to provide at least 100,000 Internet access accounts. PowerUp is also working with Powell’s own charity, America’s Promise: Alliance for Youth.

State governments are also investing in the program. Virginia is expected to announce next week that it will spend $3 million on computer centers. Illinois is expected to follow with an allocation of $750,000, and the program is in discussions with California officials.

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