Unique Mix of Partners Collaborate with the Navajo Nation During COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Studies indicate that acute stress may remind us of our common humanity, and that understanding our shared vulnerability can inspire kindness, connection, and a desire to support each other. This desire to support others is the driving force behind a new and growing mix of partners brought together by humanitarian and Navajo Nation tribal member Mylo Fowler. Partners include Heart of America, Swinerton Renewable Energy, Real Salt Lake Foundation (RSL), JinkoSolar Inc., Angel Flight West and others.

As one of the top three hot spots per-capita for COVID-19 cases in the country, the Navajo Nation is faced with myriad challenges – including education, as school closures have pushed learning from the classroom to the home, where electricity and school supplies are sparse. These partners are banding together to support Navajo Nation families at this difficult time.

MULTI-PRONGED RESPONSE
CRITICAL SUPPLIES

Heart of America, Swinerton Renewable Energy, Real Salt Lake Foundation, and Goal Zero are providing a learning-from-home kit that will provide a lifeline to more than 1,400 students and their families. Each kit will include: solar lanterns, books, school supplies, art materials, and STEM learning kits – all of which are designed to make distance learning possible.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
The world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels, JinkoSolar Inc., has joined the effort to provide 50,000 masks to students, families, and area medical facilities. Pilots of Angel Flight West – Utah Wing began delivering the PPE via aircraft on April 27 and will continue to support the next phases of resource distribution through the summer.

Additional supporting partners include Construction Innovations, Blymyer Engineers, Goal Zero, Shugar Magic Foundation, Strategic Energy Innovations, Elite Team Offices, and SunGrow.

SOLAR BATTERIES & TECH DEVICES
Beyond the distribution of these learning-from-home kits, as an extension of the “Light the Res” pilot partnership between Real Salt Lake Foundation, Goal Zero and Heart of America, there is a significant effort under way to donate technology tools, in the form of 1:1 devices, WiFi hotspots, and Goal Zero home solar batteries, that can power a small home for several days. The partners plan to continue this work into 2021 with the additional support of Swinerton Renewable Energy as a fourth contributing partner.

KIT ASSEMBLY EVENT: APRIL 30, 2020
In partnership with the San Juan School District, Fowler will work alongside 20 volunteers from Real Salt Lake Foundation, the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, and Utah medical students to assemble kits for Navajo students at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT on Thursday, April 30. More than 1,400 students on the reservation, pre-k through grade 12, will receive a grade level learning-from-home kit with books, STEM materials, a solar lantern, art supplies and a coronavirus packet with information, hand sanitizer and two or more masks.

Beginning May 1, Real Salt Lake Foundation and Fowler will transport the home-schooling kits to the school district on the reservation where they will be given to students using existing infrastructure for school lunch distribution. The first phase will reach students of eight area schools on the Navajo Reservation and subsequent phases will serve Navajo Nation schools in Arizona and New Mexico as well as members of the Hopi Reservation within the Navajo Reservation. Angel Flight West will continue to support this effort by delivering kits into remote areas of the reservation.

COLLABORATIVE IMPACT
“This unique collaboration has expanded our ongoing work with Mylo Fowler, RSL and Goal Zero to light the reservation. This effort will support distance learning for schoolchildren while providing PPE, solar lighting and technology devices that will benefit multiple generations of Navajo Nation residents.”
- Jill Heath, President and CEO, Heart of America Foundation

"Now is the time to work together in support of those uniquely impacted by the ongoing Covid- 19 crisis. Distance learning poses specific challenges to Navajo communities, where many live without access to the grid or reliable internet. Our partners have shown tremendous generosity in their support of this program, which will provide students with resources they need to continue learning and to stay connected through this isolating time."
- Jennifer Hershman, Swinerton Renewable Energy

“Character is made clear during these unprecedented times as unlikely partners step together to respond to the needs on the ground from the Navajo people. Working with Heart of America’s resources and expertise in guided project execution has been critical in this new and changing environment. “
- Mary VanMinde, Real Salt Lake Foundation

Visit http://www.heartofamerica.org/response to learn more about this collaboration and how to get involved.

About the Heart of America Foundation
Since 1997, the Heart of America Foundation (HOA), a national 501c3 non-profit headquartered in Washington DC, has brought critical educational resources into economically challenged communities. We have done this through the distribution of 4.1 million books to more than 2 million students across the country. Through public/private partnerships, we have infused more than $4 million in new technologies to some of the highest needs schools and have leveraged thousands of volunteers to transform more than 500 educational spaces.

About Real Salt Lake Foundation
The RSL Foundation is the arm of MLS team, Real Salt Lake. It exists to build supportive bridges for all Utahns into the community. The Foundation has four areas that is works in: Enhancing Education, Strengthening Communities, Building Leadership through Soccer, and Supporting Green Initiatives throughout our state. The Foundation’s “Light the Res” program installs solar on houses located on the Navajo Reservation in southwest Utah.https://www.rsl.com/foundation

About Swinerton Renewable Energy
Swinerton Renewable Energy (SRE) offers engineering, procurement, construction, and SOLV®  services for solar photovoltaic plants throughout North America to a diverse range of clients.  Over 130 years of building landmark projects, Swinerton has forged a reputation for  unsurpassed safety, workmanship, on-time delivery, and customer satisfaction. Today, our team takes pride in building cost-effective solar systems that will generate reliable, clean power  for many years to come. SRE has delivered over 5 GW of solar projects and our SOLV team manages over 7.5 GW of PV plants. Learn more about Swinerton Renewable Energy at swinertonrenewable.com.

About Angel Flight West
Founded in 1984, Angel Flight West (AFW) is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization that arranges free, non-emergency air transportation for children and adults who need to travel long distances to access medical care and other essential services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, AFW’s volunteer pilots are flying needed supplies to rural areas. The Angel Flight West Utah Wing has 77 pilots and flies more than 100 missions a year across Utah and throughout the intermountain west.
www.angelflightwest.org
www.facebook.com/angelflightwest

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