Foundation series

The Centri Tech Foundation awards more than $195,000 in innovation grants to digital equity organizations in five US cities.

“Universal and equitable access to the digital economy is paramount for progress,” said Laura Mueller-Soppart, program director at the Centri Tech Foundation. “While there has been significant progress in digital access, adoption and accessibility, the opportunity now is to build on this work towards a ‘fourth a’, digital advancementwhich aims to promote a truly inclusive digital economy.”

The Digital Integrator Pilots represent a diverse range of methods and approaches to promote digital advancement and span a range of cities. According to Census Bureau surveys, 2.9 times more urban residents experience acute gaps in digital access than rural residents. Partnership with local public housing authorities in the Greater Boston field to deploy affordable broadband networks coupled with digital skills training and employment opportunities, modeling a 2-generation digital skills curriculum for families of washington d.c.digital integrator pilots address a range of challenges cities face in closing this gap.

“Historic federal investments in broadband and digital equity create an opportunity for communities to solve digital access in real and lasting ways,” said Marta Urquilla, President of the Centri Tech Foundation. “We are inspired by the national momentum toward achieving digital equity and proud to partner with these organizations to build a sustainable and inclusive economic future.”

The first five beneficiaries of the 2022 Digital Integrators Pilot Program include:

  • Fair Internet Initiative, Detroit, Michigan
  • Excite Center, philadelphia cream, Pennsylvania
  • LIFT-NY, Bronx, New York
  • Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Boston, MA
  • return byte, washington d.c.

Recipients will participate in a six-month cohort experience and peer-to-peer exchange facilitated by COTF.

The pilot program will be evaluated in partnership with dr. Colin Rheinnier, Director of the Digital Equity Research Center and Senior Fellow at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. The results of a qualitative assessment will be published in a report at the end of the pilot period in fall 2022. The report will highlight replicable and scalable program models to achieve greater digital advancement in cities across the country.

If you would like to interview the Centri Tech Foundation or one of the grantees, please contact Connie Jones at (850) 519-2912.

More information about the organizations and their pilot programs is provided below:

Fair Internet Initiative, Detroit
walk with Detroit communities to build neighborhood-governed community wireless networks, train residents as Digital Stewards, forge local workforce journeys, and support the sustainability of these networks by promoting accessibility, consent, security and resilience.

“This generous award will help us significantly grow and develop our Digital Steward community, improve their technical skills, and solidify sustainable career paths and employment opportunities,” said Janice Gates, director of the Detroit Community Project’s Fair Internet Initiative. “We look forward to advancing digital stewardship and sharing community technology practices across Detroit quarters.”

Excite Center, philadelphia cream
Expands the services of the ExCITe Center’s digital equity programming in west philadelphia Hiring a Digital Navigator Manager within the community who will work in conjunction with a local public computer lab to provide free digital skills training and mentorship to local residents.

“This new position will provide the hands-on digital skills training and technical support needed by community members and community organizations that use the Dornsife Center. This award is an important contribution that will help Drexel University to achieve our digital equity goals,” said Andrew Stutzmannproject director at the ExCITe center.

LIFT-NY, New York City
Embeds digital access and lifelong learning continuously into LIFT’s economic mobility coaching model and, as a result, supports over 500 parents in the LIFT-NY network towards sustainable career paths reaching over 2,000 people with improved digital access tools and resources over time.

“Funding from the Centri Tech Foundation is a critical step in helping LIFT-NY parents achieve economic mobility,” said Romain Xiomara, Executive Director, LIFT-NY. “This investment will help strengthen our coaching model by ensuring that digital access, literacy and opportunity are deeply integrated into our service delivery.”

Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Boston
Pilots digital skills programming as part of a series of digital access projects for residents of 420 social housing units in the Boston in collaboration with local community and government organizations.

“MAPC is thrilled to be working in conjunction with the Centri Tech Foundation to pilot a digital skills and internet adoption program for public housing residents in gateway cities across our region,” said Metropolitan Area Executive Director Planning Council. Marc Draisen. “People don’t just need WIFI access and digital devices – they also need the skills to use digital equipment with confidence and to browse the internet safely and efficiently. The pilot program will help residents in our area navigate everyday tasks like job search, homework, accessing online resources and digital communication. We’re excited to get started!”

return byte, washington d.c.
Pilots a 2-generation digital skills training model for primary adult home caregivers and their dependents at Martha’s Table at washington d.c. with the technical assistance of Urban Alliance network formed by trainees from the local secondary school.

“Thanks to the funds provided by this award, we are finally able to launch an innovative new digital literacy training program that targets adults and their children, helping us to bridge the digital divide of today and of tomorrow. We’re also very excited to be partnering with two great community partners – Martha’s Table and Urban Alliance – who will provide more talent and resources to make sure this program is a success,” said Marc Riveradirector of LatinX affairs at Byte Back.

About the Centri Tech Foundation
The Centri Tech Foundation (CTF), along with a network of community development partners, seeks to connect low-income Americans to high-quality connectivity at home and digital workforce opportunities in the community. We believe digital advancement is a civil right. Achieving a sustainable future, where everyone can achieve their aspirations and prosper, requires an inclusive digital economy. Learn more about centritechfdn.org and follow @centritechfdn on social media.

SOURCE Centri Tech Foundation