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Pioneer Connect Endorses $4,980 FRS Grant to Philomath Robotics Team

Press Releases

The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS), the philanthropic arm of the NTCA announced the recipients of 23 grants totaling over $105,000.00 to support projects in communities served by NTCA members across the country. Pioneer Connect is pleased to announce Philomath High Robotics and Engineering Division (PHRED) of Philomath, OR as one of these grant recipients.  PHRED will receive $4,980 to be used to expand its educational outreach to students to participate and grow interest in STEM opportunities.

The FRS grants, coupled with support from NTCA members, will enable a broad range of community projects across rural America. These projects encompass new equipment for schools and libraries to foster literacy and digital inclusion, the expansion of esports and robotics programs, support for first responders, and more.

Pioneer Connect originated the grant application process with Tom Thompson, the Team Lead Mentor of the PHRED Robotics to seek funding for the team to expand their outreach to students. PHRED is an official Philomath High School organization with the goal of providing authentic engineering experiences and opportunities for students through participation in an annual international robotics competition run by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Since the high school robotics program began in 2002, it has expanded to encompass additional grade levels, including the elementary school where they started a Lego-based robotics program.

Tom Thompson, the PHRED Team Lead Mentor, expressed his gratitude to FRS and Pioneer Connect for this opportunity, “This grant will help our robotics team take community outreach to a new level by reaching out to more kids and their families at community events and summer mini camps.”

This award will assist them in expanding their outreach to more elementary and middle school aged children to gain more interest and participation. They also have plans to provide free robotic “camps” for elementary and middle school students, giving them a greater hands-on experience in engineering design and computer programming through robotics.

James Rennard, General Manager, states, “Pioneer is deeply committed to supporting our local communities and empowering the young individuals in the areas we serve. We were delighted to assist and support the PHRED Robotics Team in their application and thrilled that they have been selected as recipients representing Philomath, Pioneer Connect and rural America. Influencing both their future as well as their career paths, this award will have a positive, lasting impact on the children in our area for years to come.”

“Through the community grant program, FRS is proud to help multiply the work NTCA members are often already doing to give back so that their efforts can have an even greater impact on the communities they serve,” said FRS Executive Director Pam Becker.

A complete list of recipients can be found by visiting the following link: https://www.frs.org/programs

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About Pioneer Connect

Pioneer Connect is a broadband partner providing services to connect your life—delivering phone, internet, and more to our neighbors from the Willamette Valley to the Pacific Ocean. For 72 years, Pioneer has gone the extra mile to make sure each member of our 1,300 square mile service area has the technology they need; providing services to rural homes, businesses, K-12 schools and colleges. Pioneer Connect has built a 700-mile fiber optic network providing the communities with essential phone services and the latest in fast and reliable internet technology. We are proud to be Pioneers for you, our community.

About FRS and NTCA
The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS), the philanthropic arm of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association and its members, seeks to sustain and enhance the quality of life in rural America by advancing an understanding of rural issues. Through scholarships, grants, and a variety of educational programs, FRS focuses on educating rural youth, encouraging community development and introducing policymakers to challenges unique to rural communities. Visit us at www.frs.org.

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing more than 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovative change in smart rural communities across America. In an era of transformative technological developments, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are advancing efforts to close the digital divide by delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks. Their commitment to building sustainable networks makes rural communities fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education, and it contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. Visit us at www.ntca.org.