Digital Equity

We build awareness of and work to close the digital divide by advocating for paradigm-shifting policies and convening cross-sectoral leaders to increase investments into innovative solutions.


For the creation and passage of legislation on digital inclusion


A digital inclusion-focused coalition of philanthropic stakeholders


Programs that surface innovative connectivity technologies


Best-in-field initiatives working to eliminate the digital divide

Our Work

Digital Equity in the California Legislature:
The Golden State’s Historic Opportunity


In Sacramento, tackling the digital divide has received top billing among pundits and decision makers. Oftentimes inaccessible, the conversation usually remains within the confines of the Capitol. On June 25th, 2021, the Michelson 20MM Foundation, the California Community Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation shifted the paradigm. The latest Connecting California event featured policymakers determined to uplift what is often described as one of the most pressing social justice issues of our time.

Connecting California PT 4

Digital Divide: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

This program focused on building a foundation for in-depth understanding of national, state and local contexts and precedents in digital (in)equity, and introducing attendees to ongoing initiatives combatting the COVID-19 crisis and its effects on our country and society.

Philanthropy Post-COVID: Where Do We Go From Here?

This program spotlighted philanthropic leaders and the digital equity investments they’ve made pre- and post-pandemic. Grantmakers, public-private liaisons, and venture investors shared best practices, lessons learned, and ways to build back better beyond COVID-19. 

Stronger Together: The Role of Cross-Sector Partnerships in Digital Equity

This event focused on deepening our understanding of how effective public-private partnerships can be designed and implemented, specifically at the local and regional levels. Subject matter experts shared case studies of proven models and solutions implemented both in-state and around the country.

The Power of Connectivity: How Internet Innovators are Closing the Digital Divide

This event spotlighted a panel of bold, pragmatic experts who shared their work and learnings from building solutions that can close the divide for all students, educators, and families.  

California Digital Divide Innovation Challenge

Closing the Digital Divide Once and For All

Led by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, and the California Department of Education in partnership with Michelson 20MM Foundation, General Motors, Genentech, and other organizations, the California Digital Divide Innovation Challenge seeks to identify and develop technology that will make affordable broadband internet access universally accessible across the state, without exception.

Michelson 20MM Joins California Department of Education to Identify Solutions to Close the Digital Divide

Education Trust West

Student Polling

Conducted a student poll that reached a representative sample of California students enrolled at community colleges and four-year public and private institutions. Students were asked about resources and support they’re receiving from their institutions and their perceptions of the effectiveness of their institution’s strategies.

Digital Mapping

Created a digital map that illustrates the higher education system’s response, including gaps in digital access and implementation of distance learning. The map will be used to provide a view of outcomes (impact of school closures on high school graduation rates and UC/CSU enrollment) and will be organized by schools, community college districts, and higher education institutions.

Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD)

Funding Human I-T

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michelson 20MM teamed up with the Foundation for L.A. Community Colleges and other funders to assist LACCD students who were forced to transition to remote learning mid-term. The partnership provided 20,000 students with access to Chromebooks, internet hotspots, low-cost home internet connections, and digital literacy workshops.

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Additional Resources

Glossary of Terms

Internet Global computer network providing information and communication facilities
Broadband An umbrella term for a kind of internet access that is always on and fast
Types of Internet Technology
Dial-up Provides internet, but not fast enough to qualify as broadband
Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) Sends data over unshielded power lines. While physically possible, not a stable way to get content. Typically provides speeds slower than satellite

Sends data wirelessly to receivers. Easily disrupted by weather. 

Average download speeds 500 Kbps, upload speeds 80 Kbps

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

Sends data over traditional copper telephone lines. 

Typical speeds range from several hundred Kbps to Mbps


Fixed wireless sends data over radio links, with a fixed receiver endpoint. 

Typical speeds are comparable to DSL or cable

  • Mobile wireless: endpoints can move but it provides lower speeds, in the range of several hundred Kbps
  • Wireless Internet Services Providers (WISPs): provide wireless broadband at speeds around 1 Mbps using unlicensed devices. Most frequently found in or built for areas not served by cable or wired networks
Cable Sends data using the same coaxial cables as TV. Typical speeds of 1.5 Mbps or more
Fiber Sends data over optic cables. Typical speeds are tens or even hundreds of Mbps faster than DSL & cable

Other Resources