Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mayor Announces Establishment of Fund to Bridge Digital Divide

Press Release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean, joined by representatives of Google, Comcast, the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dell, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and others, today announced the launch of a fund that will aim to close the digital divide in Nashville.

The Digital Inclusion Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will provide free or low-cost Internet access, computers, devices, training and support to Nashville citizens who don’t have them now. More than 40 percent of Metro Nashville Public Schools students did not have access to computers or Internet connectivity at home in 2012.

Mayor Dean called the lack of access “a wall that seals off too many people from the digital know-how that will carry many of us into the next decade.”

“I look forward to seeing the results the Digital Inclusion Fund will achieve in the years ahead – results that can make a profound difference in the life of our city by building bridges over the digital divide,” the mayor said.

Metro Government invested $100,000 in the fund in the current fiscal year’s budget. Google, the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation and Comcast each matched Metro’s donation, bringing the fund’s current balance to more than $400,000.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will invest the fund’s assets and make grants to qualified organizations to work on broadening digital access, hardware and training. Vanderbilt University Medical Center has already given 3,800 gently used computers to benefit families of students attending Metro Nashville Public Schools. Dell facilitated the gift, and Metro Nashville Public Schools has housed the computers.

During an event at Nashville Public Library, Mayor Dean thanked each of these organizations for their generous donations and their other efforts to bridge the digital divide, including Comcast and Google’s work to provide extremely fast Internet and television service and Comcast’s Internet Essentials initiative to bring access to low-income families.

“Access can help these citizens feel more included in the life of the city, which will have a big impact on public education, public safety and economic development, our city’s top priorities,” Mayor Dean said.

“While we're working to make the web faster in Nashville, we're also investing to get more people connected for the first time,” said Daynise Joseph, Google Fiber Community Impact Manager, Nashville. “Bridging the digital divide is a community effort, and Google Fiber is proud to be one of the local supporters of the Nashville Digital Inclusion Fund. We look forward to continuing to work alongside these partners to bring more of the community online.”

“Mayor Karl Dean and Metro Nashville Public Schools have been invaluable partners throughout the life of Comcast’s Internet Essentials program and have greatly contributed to our bringing the Internet to more than 6,000 low-income families in Middle Tennessee since the program began in 2011,” said Doug Guthrie, Senior Vice President, Comcast. “We are proud to support the Digital Inclusion Fund as an important next step in the ongoing community-wide effort to bridge the digital divide in Nashville.”

Anyone who wants to give to the Digital Inclusion Fund can do so on The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s website at

My Comment: This may very well be charitable cause worth supporting and Dell, Google, and Comcast are to be commended for their contributions. Be aware however that this does not become a government entitlement program.

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