Reflecting on 2020 and service to our communities

As 2020 comes to an end, we remain steadfast in our commitment to be there for friends, families, coworkers and neighbors.

2020 has been a year that none of us expected, but I couldn’t be more proud of the way our team at AT&T Michigan stepped up and made such a difference in the community during these tough times. As the year comes to a close and our ‘new normal’ living amidst a pandemic continues, we felt it was important to reflect back on the positive impact AT&T made in 2020. Wishing each of you a happy and healthy holiday season and a great new year!

Best,

David Lewis

It’s time for equality in our nation

Booker T. Washington once said that, “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” Caring, respect and understanding are all common things that we must continue to find uncommon ways to bridge the racial divide. This year, we have experienced travesties of justice that underscore the long history of violence and racism Black people in America still face. It’s time for change and AT&T is committed to being a part of the change.

To take our empowerment in the city of Detroit a step further, we have expanded our investments by teaming up with Boys and Girls Club-Detroit and Jefferson East, Inc. Our collaborations with these amazing Detroit institutions will further strengthen the economic empowerment these organizations are already building in the city.

Of course, we know there is much more to address when it comes to racial inequities across every facet of society. We will continue to work diligently in our communities to address education, workforce and other needs of underserved Black communities. It is AT&T’s desire to reach back while moving forward so that no one is left behind.

Read more about our efforts in the Michigan Chronicle.

Serving meals to frontline healthcare workers in Detroit

This spring, as the Coronavirus spread across the state, first responders stepped up to take care of Detroiters and risked their own health to help those who were suffering. As hospitals filled up with COVID-19 patients, and field hospitals were opened to help additional residents, AT&T stepped in to help.

In late April, AT&T teamed up with the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA) to provide meals for first responders at Metro Detroit’s field hospital. AT&T proudly stepped up again in May, providing lunches for two weeks at the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) hospital in Detroit. This collaboration between AT&T, MRLA and World Central Kitchen, fed HFHS staff while supporting local restaurants and caterers in Detroit, struggling from closures and reductions due to the pandemic.

Read more about it in the Oakland Press.

Supporting flood recovery in Mid-Michigan

In May, Mid-Michigan was hit hard by flooding, displacing many from their homes and creating additional hardships for residents amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. AT&T stepped in to support families impacted by the disaster by launching a text-to-give campaign.

AT&T kicked off the effort with a $25,000 donation to the United Ways in Midland and Gladwin counties, which received all proceeds from the campaign. Through the text-to-give program, residents could text FLOOD to 20222 and make a $25 donation through their phone bill. This gave residents the ability to come together to make a difference and offer support for their community.

This initiative aligns with AT&T’s long history of stepping up to support the communities they serve in times of crisis. Last year, AT&T Believes volunteers participated in recovery efforts in communities affected by hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, including events like Hurricane Dorian, Tropical Storm Barry and the California Wildfires.

Check out the news coverage of this effort from the Midland Daily News and WILX-TV in Lansing.

AT&T teams up with Boys and Girls Club to create Industry Club

To continue the mission of the Believe Detroit initiative, AT&T is collaborating with the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan to bring unique learning opportunities to Detroit youth. The Industry Club is a first-of-its-kind program, providing metro Detroit youth hands-on and paid experience in industries they typically would not have access to.

The Industry Club kicked off with a focus on fashion retail and merchandising, with a vision to expand into other industries in 2021. The Industry Club is housed at Detroit is the New Black, a retail accelerator space for women and minority designers to sell their merchandise. The program began in mid-September and offers a dozen high-school youth an immersive after-school curriculum to strengthen and empower them to pursue careers as business owners and designers in retail.

The curriculum represents every aspect of the retail business development cycle, including stocking merchandise, ordering wholesale, and fulfilling online orders, all while earning a wage. After completion of the program, students can expect to walk out with 21st Century skills, industry certifications, industry mentorship and networking opportunities as well as paid work experience. Read more here.

AT&T and ReBrand Cities host virtual technology challenge

Metro Detroit and Grand Rapids students were pushed to dream big by participating in a virtual technology challenge hosted by AT&T and ReBrand Cities. Participants were asked to think critically about the issues facing their communities and to create a video showcasing an idea that could change the world. 

Around 25 students from both Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids and Detroit Edison Public School Academy were asked to participate. The event began with a panel of special guests including former MSU basketball star and television broadcaster, Greg Kelser and former Detroit Lion, Herman Moore. Student participants then had virtual mentoring sessions with AT&T team members, who acted as sounding boards to help them develop their ideas. On December 9 and 10, students from each school pitched their final videos to a panel of judges. 

Event participants walked away with a variety of new skills including problem solving, public speaking and presentation skills as well as digital competency. Read more here.

Happy holidays from the AT&T Michigan team

 Wishing you peace, health and happiness this Holiday Season and throughout the New Year!

From all of us at AT&T Michigan

David Lewis is president of AT&T Michigan. As president, Lewis is responsible for regulatory, legislative, and external affairs, as well as community and industry relations throughout the state of Michigan. Lewis joined AT&T in 2009 as Director of External and Corporate Affairs for the company’s operations in Indiana.

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