The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville launched the Digital Inclusion Fund to support digital inclusion efforts in the City of Huntsville. With seed funding provided by Google Fiber, the fund grants programs supporting high-impact programs that will make internet access and digital education available to those currently without access to those resources.
On February 28, 2018, the Community Foundation, together with the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library and Google Fiber, convened a Community Conversation to discuss the digital inclusion issue in our community. The meeting was held at the Downtown Huntsville Public Library and brought together over 50 stakeholders, including public officials from Huntsville City Schools, J. F. Drake State Technical College, Alabama A&M and the City of Huntsville. Also participating were nonprofit and civic organizations, including the Heart of the Valley YMCA, United Way of Madison County, Urban Engine, National Children’s Advocacy Center, the Committee of 100, Downtown Rescue Mission, Village of Promise and many others.
The meeting was the first step toward a deeper understanding of what digital inclusion means and what it can look like in our community. The attendees identified groups who are more affected and resources currently available, and created a prioritized list of community goals for digital inclusion, which will drive the efforts of the new Digital Inclusion Fund. View the Community Conversation Recap.
The diverse group of constituents, which included nonprofit leaders, educators, and other community stakeholders, identified education, job training and economic development as the top three priorities for digital inclusion in our community. View the Digital Inclusion Plan of Action.
“The information we received from this discussion will help inform our grantmaking decisions from the Digital Inclusion Fund. We believe that this collaborative public/private partnership will provide measurable results this year by funding the most promising programs that will work to close the digital divide in our community,” stated Stuart Obermann, CEO/President of the Community Foundation. “In addition to the initial funding provided by Google Fiber, we are assembling a funders’ collaborative to bring additional resources to the table to leverage funding from a variety of public and private sources.”
In 2018, The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville awarded grants to nine agencies in Huntsville to support and enhance digital access for underserved residents.
“We hope this fund will provide opportunities to help bridge the gap for residents of Huntsville with limited or no access to the online world,” stated Daynise Joseph, Community Impact Manager for Google Fiber. “Digital access and education are critical to helping reduce economic inequality and help residents find education and jobs that can improve their lives.”