Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO), a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone), announced it has donated $100,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio to provide local Club kids access to critical technology resources and bridge digital divides. The gift was announced at Firestone Country Club during the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and is part of the Bridgestone Driving Great Futures program that supports Boys & Girls Clubs through customer and teammate donations at all 2,200 BSRO stores nationwide.
With this donation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio will be able to provide equipment, enhanced internet access, hotspots and other resources to help Club Kids gain access to digital tools they may otherwise go without. In addition to 11 area BSRO stores, Northeast Ohio is home to the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center, where more than 700 teammates are working to advance science and innovation in smart tires, non-pneumatic (airless) tires, connected mobility, sustainable materials, and more.
“We know that when young people have basic access to technology in this increasingly digital world, they have a greater chance of success in school and beyond,” said Robert Johnson, vice president of stores for BSRO. “Our communities across Northeast Ohio, and Akron in particular, are very special to Bridgestone, and we are grateful for the contributions of our retail customers and teammates that will allow the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio to continue to deliver critical resources to area kids.”
The digital divide has been an emerging issue for youth across Northeast Ohio and was further magnified in the past year by the pandemic. Following the most recent Census Cleveland, the city now has the worst wireline connection rate in the country among large cities with 31 percent of its households lacking broadband access and 46 percent not having any wired connections. With more Clubs in the region reopening this fall, the donation will help Club kids keep pace academically by increasing and improving digital access at more locations.
“We are so grateful to Bridgestone Retail Operations and the Driving Great Futures program for helping provide our kids with critical technology resources, including better access to the internet,” said Jeff Scott, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio. “Bridgestone’s generosity is a difference-maker. One of our pillars is academic success, and this gift will level the learning field for so many young people.”
The donation highlights a long tradition of charitable giving in Northeast Ohio through the sport of golf. Bridgestone has helped extend this legacy as title sponsor of an event at Firestone Country Club since 2006, and professional golf activities overall have contributed more than $30 million to the local community since 1982.
Last year, Bridgestone raised $3.6 million for Boys & Girls Clubs of America that helped provide technology, transportation, and out-of-school support for Club kids and teens amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2015, Bridgestone has contributed a total of $15.3 million to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Driving Great Futures is part of the Bridgestone Our Way to Serve corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitment to improve the way people move, live, work and play.