October 27, 2006

Virtue Foundation and Office of the Governor Announce Computer Donation to Louisiana Schools

Virtue Foundation Katrina Education Initiative provides 660 Apple notebook computers and Microsoft software licenses to hurricane-affected schools

New Orleans, Louisiana-Virtue Foundation, a public charitable organization and NGO dedicated to empowering women and children worldwide through education, economic, and healthcare initiatives, and the Office of the Governor announced this week that they are ready to begin the distribution of 660 donated notebook computers and software licenses worth more than 1 million dollars as part of the Foundation’s Katrina Education Initiative.

“Children make up the social fabric of our future and we must invest in them,” said Dr. Joan LaRovere, Vice President of Virtue Foundation. “Last March, we saw the powerful and positive impact that computers can have on children when we donated 60 laptops to schools in Hammond and the Renaissance Village Trailer Park to aid children in the Baker and East Baton Rouge school systems. Today, we are excited to welcome Microsoft into this important initiative and to begin the distribution of an additional 600 Apple notebook computers fully loaded with the latest Microsoft software in order to provide children in Louisiana new technological tools that will help bring their education into the 21st century.”

“We are very pleased to support the Virtue Foundation in providing software to these parishes as they continue to work to restore their education systems and enable students to reach their potential as they grow to become the drivers of the region’s future economic and social revival,” said Anthony Salcito, general manager of Microsoft US Education.

In selecting the parishes that would receive the notebook computers and software bundles, Virtue Foundation sought to identify the technology-ready schools most affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and in greatest need.

“Louisiana’s educational technology initiative has been very successful in placing technology into classrooms across the state in order to engage students in learning and promote higher levels of student achievement, said Cecil J. Picard, Superintendent, Louisiana Department of Education. “Virtue Foundation’s generous laptop donation to targeted Louisiana school districts that were hardest hit by the hurricanes of 2005 will advance local efforts to increase student access to technology and provide students with technology immersed learning environments.”
Virtue Foundation is hopeful that its collaborative efforts and donations will act as a catalyst in providing the children of Louisiana with the technology-readiness and leadership they will need to excel in the 21st century.

“It is crucial to rebuild an innovative, technology-based educational system after the devastation of the storms. Technology is the great equalizer of our time that can level the playing field and bring these children tangible skills and real employment opportunities in today’s job market,” said Dr. Joseph Salim, Executive Director of Virtue Foundation. “For the children who have been a part of this initiative, we have already seen the beneficial impact on their parents and extended community.”

The Foundation, which has been working closely with the Governor’s office over the past year, met with Governor Blanco in New York this week to strategize additional steps in rebuilding and upgrading the educational system in Louisiana.

“Virtue Foundation should be commended for its outstanding and persistent efforts in seeking to make a real difference in the quality of children’s education in the state of Louisiana and the promise of a more prosperous future through the use and integration of the latest technologies in the classrooms,” said Governor Blanco. “We value this innovation and appreciate Virtue Foundation’s sustained assistance as we work together to develop a technology-enabled educational model.”

The Virtue Foundation Katrina Education Initiative brings together the State of Louisiana, the Office of the Governor, the Louisiana Department of Education, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (“BESE”), and the Louisiana Board of Regents to provide technology-driven educational programs to Louisiana schools devastated by the hurricanes. The initiative was launched in 2005 at the co-sponsored education forum, “Louisiana: Rebuilding through Education,” which set forth a new educational paradigm to help revitalize schools and spur economic development, workforce training, and innovation in technology in Louisiana.