With one-third of Americans still lacking broadband Internet connections at home, access to the internet is often considered an equity issue. Yet programs aimed at narrowing the digital divide may leave their strongest legacies in the areas of community and economic development. Online access is a gateway to opportunities in education, workforce, and health, and other areas that increasingly depend on digital access and digital skills.
At the end of the morning discussion about the power of celebrities in support of causes they care about on day two of the conference, we got a beautiful surprise: the high, sweet, and brilliant tones of Robert Vijay Gupta’s violin reverberating throughout the ballroom. When he concluded his piece as part of the conference’s “random acts of culture,” he spoke from his heart about his work as an artist not just in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, but on Skid Row when he teaches and plays music with people there. He spoke eloquently about the power of music reaching through the walls of mental illness or substance abuse to tap into the humanity of the person who was listening to his work and the way these experiences changed him as a musician.
“Los Angeles: America, Only Sooner” John Deasy, our dynamic new superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), recently used that phrase to describe Los Angeles at a recent convening of funders.
From April 29-May 2, Los Angeles will play host to the 2012 Council on Foundations Annual Conference. As a member of the planning task force and the foundation community of L.A., I want to extend a special invitation to community foundations to participate.