The Verizon Foundation has awarded Cal State San Bernardino a $50,000 grant for COVID-19 relief, which will support remote learning and the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus Street Medicine program.

The Street Medicine program, which has been working locally with Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine and the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine to support volunteer efforts to provide COVID-19 testing, will receive $38,000 of the funding. The funds will be used to continue the healthcare services provided by the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus nursing faculty and students with the community partners who have delivered healthcare to the homeless and unsheltered people in the Coachella Valley.

“We are so pleased to receive the funding from the Verizon Foundation. The grant allows us to continue the work of the nursing Street Medicine program,” said Diane Vines, lecturer of nursing who leads the program. “We plan to replicate the program in the San Bernardino area with the San Bernardino nursing faculty and students. The Verizon grant helps us pursue these activities.”

The Verizon Foundation grant will help the Street Medicine program with purchasing personal protective equipment and other medical-related supplies, and will also support a nursing faculty member who will supervise CSUSB Palm Desert Campus nursing students. In addition, the grant will strengthen nurse and nursing student engagement in healthcare efforts while students fulfill clinical hours and service-learning requirements to complete their degrees.

The Street Medicine program is a collaborative partnership between the CSUSB Department of Nursing at the Palm Desert Campus; the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine/Health Family Medicine Center; Desert Regional Medical Center; Well in the Desert; and the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine. The goal is to continue and expand the Street Medicine activities by working with other entities that provide healthcare services to the homeless and unsheltered population.

While CSUSB remains primarily virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is estimated that at least 600 students across the university need technology assistance for virtual classes and to maintain progress toward their degrees. To assist students in this predicament, the Verizon Foundation grant will cover $9,500 worth of laptops that will be purchased and loaned to students during the pandemic.

“We are very grateful to the Verizon Foundation for their timely grant that will significantly enhance the success of our students during this virtual learning environment,” said Samuel Sudhakar, vice president for Information Technology Services and chief information officer at CSUSB. “Our students deeply appreciate it!”

The impact of this grant will contribute to increased strides in bridging the digital divide – the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the internet, and those who do not – and closing the gap by way of issuing laptops to students.

About the Verizon Foundation

The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company’s innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, healthcare and energy management. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.8 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities.

CSUSB has maintained a strong relationship with the Verizon Foundation since 2016, and is part of Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, which offers minority males from middle schools across the San Bernardino City Unified School District summer intensive courses in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit the Verizon website.