Ask the experts - GREG HART AND DAVID ANDALCIO, PHILANTHROPISTS
Last updated 12/2/2020 at 3:28pm | View PDF
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Hinsdale residents Greg Hart and David Andalcio have more in common than their addresses. They also share a desire to strengthen their community by supporting the needs of others.
When Hart, who represents his hometown on the DuPage County Board, realized that remote learning had the potential to negatively impact students without access to computers, he turned to Andalcio to tackle the problem. As CEO of Wynndalco, a technology services company in Mokena, Andalcio has long taken the company's commitment to investment in the community to heart.
"Wynndalco feels that whatever we do will be that much more impactful when we partner with the communities we serve," Andalcio said. "Our partnerships with people like Greg Hart and others in and around DuPage County really help determine where our efforts would be most valuable, and that's what we really want - to make as big of a collective impact as possible for those students needing technology for distance learning."
With so many DuPage County schools moving to remote learning, Hart said the need for equipment like laptops has never been greater.
"The COVID-induced shift to remote learning is exacerbating inequality of opportunity for many students without access to sufficient technology," Hart said. "All students, regardless of their zip code or the color of their skin, should have access to equal educational opportunities. It was an honor to work with a great corporate citizen like David Andalcio to form a public-private partnership that will yield a positive impact for students and parents in need in DuPage County."
The shift to remote learning has been a challenge even under the best circumstances, Hart said. But he discovered families with multiple children, all trying to attend school on a single laptop. Others had no access to a computer.
Hart worked with school officials to identify the districts and the students who were most in need.
Thanks to the efforts of Hart and Andalcio and the resources of Wynndalco, more than 100 DuPage County students now have the computers they need to learn from home. Laptops were distributed to Leman Middle School in West Chicago, Keeneyville High School in Hanover Park, Fenton High School in Bensenville and College of DuPage. The donations totaled about $100,000.
Having worked with Andalcio before, Hart said it made sense to approach him with the needs created by COVID-19. Like Andalcio himself, Wynndalco recognizes and fosters the connection between education, technology and opportunity. Education and technology invite opportunity. Technology and opportunity further education, and opportunity and education rely on technology. By donating laptops, the company keeps the cycle going.
In many cases, the pandemic didn't create the lack of access to technology, but brought it to light.
"The need existed before the pandemic," Hart said. "And the need will continue when it's over."
But for now, the pandemic is just a little easier to manage for dozens of students, thanks to the efforts of Hart and Andalcio.
- by Sandy Illian Bosch