United Way of Southwest Virginia COVID-19 Advisory Council Announces Another Round of Funding

 Wifi Hotspots will provide connectivity to local communities

Abingdon, Virginia (September 18, 2020) –  United Way of Southwest Virginia announced today four communities will receive funding to support Wifi Hotspots. In partnership with LENOWISCO Planning District Commission and Mount Rogers Planning District Commission, Big Stone Gap, the City of Norton, the Town of Damascus, and the community of Konnarock have been approved for funding, each receiving $1,500 towards their wifi installation project. With these new grants, a grand total of 30 hotspots have been supported by the fund, helping many communities and families in Southwest Virginia access the internet.

Mike Quillen, Co-Chair of the United Way of Southwest Virginia COVID-19 Advisory Council, stated, “Due to the challenges presented by the pandemic, almost all school systems in our region are operating virtually this year. This makes the need for reliable internet access absolutely necessary.”

The grant funding will allow recipients to install wifi hotspots in a publicly accessible location in their community, making it easier for students and families in the region to access reliable internet service for free.

According to Duane Miller, Executive Director of LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, “Over the last six months, life has changed from what we were accustomed to. This is particularly true for our school systems. With students attending school on both a virtual and hybrid schedule in the City of Norton and Wise County, the need for reliable internet access is critical.”

“A recent survey completed by a school system in our region revealed that 194 students out of the total 810 student body do not currently have access to the internet while attending school virtually. Access to education is arguably now more important than ever before, and we are proud to continue our combined efforts to provide relief to the citizens across Southwest Virginia during these trying times,” said Travis Staton, President and CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia.

For more information about the United Way of Southwest Virginia COVID-19 Relief Fund, please visit: https://unitedwayswva.org/covid19/


United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life.  Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce. United Way convenes cross-sector partners to make an impact on the most complex problems in our region. Through collaboration with government, business, nonprofit and individuals, United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change.  With a footprint that covers nearly 20% of the state of Virginia, United Way of Southwest Virginia programs and initiatives serve the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and the cities of Bristol, Galax, Norton, and Radford.