As students go back to the classroom this fall, youth sports teams, after school STEM programs and other extracurricular organizations are looking for ways to continue their respective programming. T

he pandemic impacted local fundraising opportunities in 2020, leaving some groups to find alternative means to secure the funding and support they need for the school year.

Funding for these activities is usually supplemented through in-person opportunities, such as selling candy bars or washing cars, but with COVID-19 cases rising in some parts of the country, socially distant fundraising options are becoming more practical and safe solutions.

UScellular’s Community Connections program provides a virtual way for K-12 groups to raise up to $1,000, whether they need STEM equipment, fresh uniforms or new instruments for the school band. Organizers can register their group at communityconnections.uscellular.com to start earning sponsorship support online.

“2020 was a tough year for everyone, especially many academic and athletic groups and organizations who rely on fundraising and donations,” said Jeff Heeley, director of sales in Oklahoma. “We hope that through local and virtual initiatives like Community Connections, we’re able to still support the goals our children and students set for themselves while doing so in a safe and responsible manner.”

Once registered, local non-profit academic and athletic groups representing youth up to 12th grade have 14 days to rally their friends, families and supporters to complete online activities that include taking short surveys, watching videos or following UScellular on its social channels. Each completed activity earns money that goes directly to the organization – up to $1,000 – and the website makes it easy to spread the word on social media.

Since launching the program in 2015, UScellular has awarded $1.4 million to nearly 3,100 groups nationwide. For more information and to view the official rules, please go to communityconnections.uscellular.com.

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