Music visionary Pharrell Williams is using his philanthropic endeavors as a means to bridge the digital divide. The Virginia native’s nonprofit YELLOW has joined forces with the tech company Cisco to equip youth with the digital tools needed to thrive in education.
Through the partnership, the organization and Cisco have developed an initiative at the intersection of inclusive learning and technology. As part of the collaborative effort, YELLOWHAB—the nonprofit’s inaugural microschool—will have access to a suite of Cisco’s programs, including Secure X, WiFi-6, The Webex Suite, DNA Spaces and Meraki, to enhance and elevate immersive learning experiences.
“This partnership between YELLOW and Cisco will take the education of our students at YELLOWHAB to the next level,” Williams shared in a statement. “I look forward to our youth experiencing education through Cisco’s state-of-the-art technology, which will continuously expand their lens of possibility through which they see themselves, their community, and their futures.” He founded YELLOW in 2019 to drive equity in education forward. YELLOWHAB was designed to create access to culturally-responsive programs that intertwine STEAM and entrepreneurship for underserved scholars.
Chuck Robbins, who serves as the Chair and CEO of Cisco, says ensuring digital tools are accessible will unlock innovation and transform the world. “Cisco’s purpose is to power an inclusive future for all, which includes empowering future generations and making a positive impact on communities around the world,” he said. “It’s critical that we work together with local partners to ensure that today’s youth learn and realize their potential in a digital age. Everyone needs access to experiential learning, and we’re proud to work with Pharrell and YELLOW to reach historically marginalized communities and close the digital divide.”
Efforts like those led by YELLOW and Cisco are needed as research shows the digital divide has disproportionately impacted children who live in low-income households.