AT&T Tackles Chicago Violence with $2 Million and Jobs Initiative - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

AT&T has launched ‘Believe Chicago’—a new initiative to aid Chicago neighborhoods afflicted with gun violence and high unemployment.

The telecom giant is donating $2 million to grassroots organizations in 19 Chicago communities and hired more than 400 qualified workers who live in those neighborhoods on the south and west sides of the city. These workers have jobs at AT&T’s new Chicago Platinum Customer Care Center and in local AT&T retail stores.

Believe Chicago is an effort by AT&T employees who live and hail from these Windy City neighborhoods.

“AT&T believes that we are a part of the core fabric of Chicago,” said John Donovan, CEO, AT&T Communications via an emailed statement. “We have 16 stores, 102 retail partners, 70 company buildings, [and] more than 2,000 employees who live in various Chicago neighborhoods. Since we’re part of these communities, we understand well what goes on in Chicago. Many of our employees live and work in neighborhoods that are heavily impacted by gun violence and high unemployment. Through their existing efforts, we have gotten more engaged and they have inspired the company to bring more assets to help. They’re passionate about wanting to do more and we’re committed to support[ing] their efforts.”

“AT&T is a company that has the resources to help make a difference in these communities. We want to improve lives and lift Chicago neighborhoods that have suffered due to negative elements in the community. We know AT&T alone can’t stop the violence in Chicago. That’s not our goal. Instead, we’re working with employees and community leaders to address some root causes by promoting hiring, training, and opportunity—and mak[ing] sure the good news gets out along the way. This is the obligation that we’ve embraced through the Believe Chicago program,” he stated.

Chicago is a city known for many great things: Jazz, fabulous architecture, its deep dish pizza, and a certain community organizer who went on to become the first black President of the United States.

Unfortunately, the city has also made headlines for its gun violence rates. Although there was a decline in homicides in 2017 from the previous year, there were still over 600 people murdered within the city’s limits.

In addition to that violence, many residents are in financial tumult. A study last year revealed that a third of black households in Chicago have zero net worth.

Chicago-born Chance the Rapper has stepped up several times to help his hometown. He’s partnered with Lyft to raise money for Chicago public schools and received $1 million from Google’s charity arm for his nonprofit to also help the area’s schools.

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Samara Lynn

Samara Lynn is a technology journalist, covering the industry for a decade. Her work appears in The Wirecutter, Tom's Hardware, PC Mag, and other online outlets. She's the author of "Windows Server 2012: Up and Running" and previously worked in the IT industry. She's currently the digital manager at Black Enterprise.


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