UAMS Head Start Program Gets SBC Foundation Grant

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – As many as 20 Head Start locations will benefit from a $35,000 SBC Foundation grant for high-speed Internet access and new computers, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) announced today.


The grant from the SBC Foundation, the charitable giving arm of SBC Communications Inc., was announced at a news conference at the College Station Head Start building. UAMS operates 27 Head Start programs in Pulaski County.


The SBC Foundation grant will enable the sites to upgrade from their dial-up Internet connections and make computers available for classroom use.


“The SBC Foundation, the company and its employees contribute approximately $1 million annually in Arkansas, and much of that support comes through grants to increase access to information technologies, technology training and integration of new technologies to enhance education,” said SBC Arkansas President Ed Drilling. It’s reassuring to know that this grant will allow Head Start facilities throughout Pulaski County to use the Internet and integrate new technology to serve the children of our community.”  


The existing dial-up connections have limited the Head Start sites’ access to UAMS’ e-mail, intranet and Internet services, which has hamstrung efforts to communicate with staff, parents, governing bodies and community partners.


“Thanks to this grant, UAMS and more than two-thirds of its Head Start locations will have an up-to-date technology infrastructure that will improve the agency’s ability to provide quality health, education and social services that promote the growth and development of preschool children and strengthen families,” said UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D.


Wilson also noted that because of the slower dial-up connection speed, UAMS and the Head Start program have been unable to implement a Web-based information management system that complies with federal Head Start performance standards.


In addition to limited access to the Internet, Head Start sites have one computer each that on average are four to six years old.


Once the high-speed connection is ready, a portion of the grant will be used to replace Head Start’s oldest computers and printers.


Several Arkansas lawmakers attended Thursday’s news conference, including Sen. Tracy Steele of North Little Rock.  


“Part of our responsibility as public officials is to be good stewards of public resources,” Steele said. “Just as I have worked to help improve efficiency in the Legislature and state agencies, UAMS and the Head Start centers also are working to guarantee that their programs are as efficient and effective as possible. We all recognize that new technology can help the Head Start program do even more for the children of our community, to help them grow into successful and productive citizens.”


Head Start and Early Head Start offer health, education and social services to low-income children.


UAMS’ Community Pediatrics, a program of the Department of Pediatrics, has provided comprehensive services to low-income families since 1989 through the Infant Health and Development Program and Comprehensive Child Development Programs. In 1998, Community Pediatrics began operating Head Start and Early Head Start.


UAMS serves up to 1,090 Head Start children and 40 Early Head Start infants and toddlers in Pulaski County.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,200 students and 660 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.1 billion a year.


UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute.


SBC Communications Inc. is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves 50.4 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation’s leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at

 The SBC Foundation is the charitable giving arm of SBC Communications Inc. The SBC Foundation supports efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly those with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations. SBC Foundation-backed programs are designed to increase access to information technologies, broaden technology training and professional skills development, and effectively integrate new technologies to enhance education and economic development. The Foundation Center has consistently ranked the SBC Foundation among the nation’s top fifteen corporate foundations. In 2002, the SBC Foundation launched SBC Excelerator, a multimillion dollar competitive grants program that funds nonprofit organizations in their efforts to digitally connect communities.