White House ConnectALL Initiative: Philanthropy's Role in Increasing Digital Inclusion

Connectivity is a path to greater opportunity. In today's world, having access to broadband and fluency with technology fuel economic growth, provides access to the better paying jobs, promotes skill development, and builds stronger and more connected communities. In March, President Obama unveiled ConnectALL, an initiative to help Americans from across the country, at every income level, get online and have the tools to take full advantage of the Internet.

During this webinar co-hosted by the Council on Foundations and the White House, discussion centered around the White House's ConnectALL Initiative and the role philanthropy can play to advance broadband access for millions of Americans currently without.

Speakers on the webinar included representatives from the White House as well as foundation leaders with extensive experience working to provide greater connectivity and leverage technology to benefit their communities.

Bernadine Joselyn, Director, Public Policy and Engagement, with the Blandin Foundation, explored the connections technology makes possible. She shared how their foundation's work has assisted communities to thrive and adapt in a high tech economy. Ms. Joseyln has perspectives on the hard truths of many rural Minnesotans without computer access, whether its because of means, availability, or a lack of digital literacy.

Tom Pittman, President and CEO of the Community Foundation Northwest Mississippi, provides over fifteen years of funding and supporting work in the digital divide experienced throughout Mississippi. Exploring what it means to be engaged in this work and where they will go from here, Mr. Pittman shared insights to how they engaged donor efforts to lead these community projects and investments.

Joining us from the White House was R. David Edelman, who is Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Technology at the White House's National Economic Council (NEC). Over five years at the White House and prior roles as a career official in the federal government, Dr. Edelman has been at the forefront of technology policy. September Hargrove is a White House Fellow at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC). As a Fellow, September serves on the NEC Technology Policy Team, where she leads the President’s ConnectHome and ConnectALL initiatives.

Participants in this webinar walked away with a deeper understanding of the ConnectALL Initiative launched by the White House and the opportunities for philanthropy to increase digital inclusion for millions of American without.