By weaving digital inclusion practices into their strategic initiatives, partners can help achieve equity in education and employment while building communities and civic engagement.
Digitunity, a national non-profit organization that connects low-income people with the computer donations they need, announces that AVID Products has signed The Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide as a Cornerstone Partner in the quest to improve digital equity throughout the country.
Since the mid-1980s, Digitunity, its predecessor organization, and community partners have placed hundreds of thousands of computers with people in need. Providing that technology is essential for helping people to succeed in school, participate in the economy, and improve their communities.
Founded in 1953, AVID Products is a 100% employee-owned company supplying mindful, innovative, and accessible audio solutions for learners of all kinds, wherever they may be on their learning journey. AVID and its employee-owners are fully committed to digital inclusion and introducing other business, government, education, philanthropy, and community leaders to The Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide.
“We are thrilled to have an organization like AVID, with its foresight, social consciousness, and national reach, join us in our mission to close the digital divide,” said Scot Henley, Executive Director of Digitunity. “With AVID as a partner, we will be able to elevate the issue, accelerate our efforts, and help more families.”
The Corporate Pledge is not the only initiative that AVID and Digitunity are partnering on. Over the next two years, AVID will also be offering audio products to Digitunity’s Digital Opportunity Network members at a substantial discount from the list price. Those interested can request a link from Digitunity to purchase these products at the access-enabling price.
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“Providing opportunities for all to have the essential tools they need for their learning and life journey is core to our mission,” said Tom Finn, CEO and Employee Co-owner of AVID Products. “We are honored to be a Cornerstone Partner with Digitunity to address with speed and scale the urgent need to close the digital divide. In addition to providing critically needed devices, we will amplify advocacy so others may be inspired to join this quest and expand its impact.”
More than 36 million people in the United States lack access to basic technology most people take for granted, including reliable internet access, a computer, and the skills to use digitally connected devices. The problem disproportionately affects communities of color but persists across all boundaries from coast to coast.
This disparity between resourced and under-resourced communities is known as the “digital divide.” It permeates into every aspect of life, creating educational, economic, and career disenfranchisement. Children are unable to complete homework. Parents cannot search for and apply for jobs. Families are cut off from access to community services.
Through the Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide, Digitunity hopes to align the support and collective voice of influential, resourceful organizations in business, government, education, philanthropy, and community organizations with the passion and dedication of their Digital Opportunity Network, which includes nearly 1,500 frontline, community-level groups.
“The number-one predictor of economic success used to be a high school diploma. Now, it’s having access to technological tools and the skills to use them,” according to Susan Krautbauer, Senior Director of Strategy and Development at Digitunity.
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This national-scale gap in opportunity is multi-faceted and pervasive. It results from a number of interwoven, systemic issues. Solving it will require building and expanding collaborations on a similar scale. It is the reason Digitunity launched the Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide.
“Because of the nature of this issue, we believe fostering collaboration and relationships between entities throughout the community, businesses, service providers, community leaders, volunteers, government representatives, academics, and the media is critical for creating an inclusive future,” said Krautbauer. “No one organization can do this alone. But together, we can ensure underrepresented, marginalized people have access to the technology they need to thrive and in tomorrow’s digitally connected society.”
The four pillars of Digitunity’s pledge are:
- Access to Technology – People must have access to secure, reliable, and connected large-screen devices to work, learn, and develop the skills they need.
- Digital Skills & Education – Digital literacy is fundamental to education, finance, employment, telehealth, communication, security, community, and efficiency.
- Community Engagement & Impact – Those in need benefit most from engaged people and organizations in their communities. Those systems need to enable and sustain impact.
- Achieving Change – There is a direct line from racial inequity to poverty, and poverty to the digital divide. The corporate sector is a critical partner in developing innovative solutions that can benefit marginalized communities while having broad societal beneﬁts.
Each organization that commits to the Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide will be:
- Provided ongoing opportunities for active participation and engagement to bolster desired outcomes.
- Receiving access to a variety of tools, resources, research, and thought-leadership opportunities.
- Recognized by name and organization on the Corporate Pledge webpage on the Digitunity website.
- Included in a quarterly press release announcing new organizations that join.
- Featured in promotional and media campaigns to promote overall participation and adoption.