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Digital Equity: A Three-Legged Stool

Digital equity is often described as a stool with three legs: 1) connectivity (access to adequate low-cost internet); 2) devices/tech support; and 3) digital literacy. All three must be present in order to achieve digital equity. 

Expanding connectivity is oftentimes considered to be too expensive, while improving device distribution and support rarely goes beyond photo opportunities. Despite its importance, digital literacy improvement has been relegated to disparate approaches that have achieved various levels of success. The urgency of the pandemic, and of the inequities in which digital inequity is rooted, demand a full-throated response from all of us to right this wrong. 

EveryoneOn Bridging the Divide

Recognizing the importance of digital literacy, the Michelson 20MM Foundation is proud to award a Spark Grant to EveryoneOn in support of their work to develop and deliver a digital inclusion training program for diverse organizations in California. For years, EveryoneOn, a nonprofit organization, has sought to connect low-income families to affordable internet services, devices, and digital skills resources. The forthcoming training will be informed by and built upon EveryoneOn’s multi-pronged strategy, using a train-the-trainer model to help build the capacity of organizations to foster digital equity in low-income communities of color. 

EveryoneOn’s curriculum will be customizable and shareable with organizations throughout the state and beyond. Using a place-based framework, this project will also foster long-term change by building an ecosystem of nonprofits, K-12 serving institutions, community leaders, and others who can serve as digital navigators. EveryoneOn intends to launch this project with ten organizations.  

Empowering Community Leaders

Among the many inequities COVID-19 has revealed and exacerbated, digital inequity has been one of the most glaring. Amidst the weight of this Herculean effort, one of the best solutions lies in the most inspiring of places: community. Michelson 20MM, in partnership with EveryoneOn, will listen to how communities cope with digital inequity, compile best practices, distribute those learnings en masse, and empower leaders to train community members using provided resources. We look forward to sharing these resources in the coming months.

The Michelson 20MM Foundation is dedicated to supporting and investing in leading organizations, technologies, and initiatives that seek to transform learning and improve access to educational opportunities that lead to a meaningful career. Michelson 20MM was founded thanks to the generous support of renowned spinal surgeon and inventor Dr. Gary K. Michelson and his wife, Alya Michelson. Visit us at 20mm.org.