Bridging the digital divide

As a program officer I am extremely fortunate to see many wonderful things individuals are doing daily to help Greater Clevelanders. Much of this work goes unnoticed, only known by the recipients and a few others.

At times I’m privileged to play a role in celebrating these programs and the individuals that are key to their success. In April, I was fortunate to be a part of such a celebration.

29 representatives from 16 community technology centers were honored by the city of Cleveland. These 16 centers are all  grant recipients of the Time Warner/Cleveland City Council Neighborhood Technology Fund.

The program began seven years ago as part of an agreement with Adelphia Cable and the City of Cleveland.  Adelphia set aside $3 million dollars dedicated to the city’s residents to “bridge the digital divide.” Since then the Cleveland Foundation has managed the distribution of these funds to neighborhood computer centers around Cleveland.

The benefit  has been tremendous.

From providing after-school programming to youth, teaching seniors to fill out medical prescriptions online, to showing young people how to create music using computer technology, the local community technology centers have made considerable contributions to the lives of their participants.

How can we use technology to improve our neighborhoods? Bridging the communications gap is only the beginning.