Philanthropic Collaborative to Support Broadband Investments

The Digital Equity and Opportunity Initiative will support state coalitions that work to support digital equity projects.

Philanthropic Collaborative to Support Broadband Investments
Photo of Austin Thompson of DEOI

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2023 – Funding organizations Media Democracy Fund, Ford Foundation, Democracy Fund and W.K. Kellogg Foundation announced Wednesday a philanthropic collaboration to support state coalitions in the implementation of federal broadband investments.

The initiative, called the Digital Equity and Opportunity Initiative, will provide non-profit, private sector funding to support state broadband coalitions, preferencing those that prioritize community engagement and digital equity reforms.

The initiative will also provide technical assistance and access to experts in broadband and community engagement. It will host meetings and webinars to state coalitions understand the link between broadband infrastructure and civic infrastructure at the state and local level and disseminate best practices to local engagement and digital equity planning.

“We see a role for national philanthropy in helping fund the civic infrastructure that accelerates equitable deployment of the broadband infrastructure,” said Austin Thompson, strategic advisor to digital innovation and Equity at DEOI in a press event announcing the initiative.

“The Digital Equity and Opportunity Initiative is a call to action for more philanthropies to get involved and a call for state broadband offices to work intentionally with nonprofits and philanthropists,” he said.

The DEOI’s first round of grants focuses on the U.S. rural south and are expected this month. Stacy Carless, the founder and director of nonprofit working to establish equity in North Carolina, NC Counts Coalition, expressed her excitement for the coalition’s involvement with DEOI to improve digital skills and equity throughout the state.

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