Comcast has a longstanding commitment to supporting the military community – through our hiring efforts, community volunteerism programs and local partnerships. Recently, we had the opportunity to share some news in Altoona with Veterans Leadership Program (VLP), a non-profit that assists veterans with housing, career development, wellness and supportive services, and award them with a $15,000 grant. These efforts are part of Project UP, Comcast’s 10-year, $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity through programs and community partnerships that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers and creators.
This grant is specifically designed to provide operational support for VLP’s efforts to reach vulnerable veterans they serve in the Veterans Administration’s Altoona Medical Catchment Area with a rural computer bank that enables coordinators to better serve areas where veterans have the greatest need. The computer bank, which is being funded by another recent Comcast grant, will allow VLP to meet with veterans in Blair, Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, Centre, Clearfield, Elk, Fulton, Huntingdon and Jefferson counties, eliminating transportation barriers to complete intakes, provide referrals, help with housing searches and work together to complete job applications and other emergency assistance needs.
“Comcast believes in partnering with military community-serving organizations that are meeting the needs of veterans, servicemembers and military families, and Veterans Leadership Program is one of those impactful partners making a difference in our communities. Their programs play a significant role in helping to bridge the digital divide and allowing economic mobility for those who are serving or have served our country, and we are proud to continue our support,” said Alka Patel, Vice President of Government Affairs & External Affairs for Comcast’s Keystone Region.
“This critical program funding will allow VLP to continue our mission of empowering Veterans and their family members to navigate the challenges of life. We are proud to partner with Comcast, as they are a valuable asset to our community, and we appreciate their continued support,” said Ben Stahl, D.Sc., CEO of Veterans Leadership Program.
Veterans served by VLP may be eligible for Comcast’s Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. Since its inception in 2011, Comcast’s Internet Essentials has connected more than 10 million low-income Americans to low-cost, high-speed Internet at home, with more than 225,200 of those individuals, including veterans, residing in the counties VLP serves.
Additionally, VLP clients may be eligible for the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible low-income households with a credit of up to $30 per month ($75 per month on Tribal lands) toward their Internet and/or mobile service. Thanks to ACP, eligible Comcast customers can get home Internet through Comcast’s Internet Essentials or Internet Essentials Plus at no cost once the federal credit is applied. Internet Essentials customers can also add a line of unlimited 5G cellular data ($45) through Xfinity Mobile for as little as $24.95/month after the ACP benefit is applied.
Comcast’s 10-year-long partnership with VLP has included providing additional grants and laptop donations; installing a WiFi-connected Lift Zone at VLP’s Pittsburgh location, which provides free, high-speed WiFi to community members and hosting Comcast Newsmakers segments. This support is part of Comcast’s commitment to the military community. Since 2015, more than 19,400 veterans, National Guard and reserve service members, and military spouses have been hired by Comcast, with 8,299 members in the company’s Veterans Employee Resource Group. Since 2011, Comcast has donated $197.5 million in cash and in-kind giving to military community serving organizations, while NBC has dedicated $9.5 million in-kind PSA time to military community serving organizations. In addition, 93 veteran-owned businesses are part of Comcast’s Supplier Diversity Program.