Tuesday, November 14th 2023 from 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Session 1: Learning From the Past
As U.S. states and territories prepare to receive and deploy a $65 billion federal investment in American broadband infrastructure and digital equity to ensure internet access for all, how can communities prioritize funds to build models for digital equity that serve their long-term needs How might we begin to envision and talk about what the outcomes of this historic funding will look like now, with a focus on building for the future? This three-part convening, hosted jointly by the Centri Tech Foundation, the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society, and the Digital Equity Research Center at the Metropolitan New York Library Council will bring together emerging and longtime digital equity leaders and practitioners and a diverse set of stakeholders to discuss forward-looking approaches to sustainable broadband adoption and digital equity.
The current funding through IIJA is not the first time the federal government has provided significant investments to support local digital equity ecosystems. But it is the largest investment in this field to date. In this first of three sessions in our Built to Last series, we hear from veterans in the digital equity field who have led successful efforts in years past and are continuing their work today.
- Understand the historical context for the current digital equity movement
- Learn how three communities have built robust and lasting digital equity ecosystems
- Recognize a variety of ways communities might leverage funding for long-term solutions
- Marta Urquilla, President, Centri Tech Foundation
- Juliet Fink Yates, Broadband and Digital Inclusion Manager, Office of Innovation & Technology, City of Philadelphia
- Monique Tate, Co-Director, Community Tech NY
- Greta Byrum, Principal, Broadband and Digital Equity, HR&A Advisors
- Dr. Karen Mossberger, Frank and June Sackton Professor, School of Public Affairs, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Arizona State University
About Our Speakers:
Marta Urquilla is President of Centri Tech Foundation, a mission-driven organization focused on leveraging digital technologies to advance social and economic outcomes. She has over 25 years’ experience managing programs and leading results-oriented policy approaches to improve lives. Before joining Centri Tech, Marta was Chief Program Officer at Education Design Lab, directing the creation of new education models toward the future of work. Previously, she was Deputy Director at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, where she led efforts to build the next generation of leaders and approaches to scale social change. Under President Obama, Marta served as Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and as Senior Advisor for Social Innovation at the Corporation for National and Community Service, where she built and implemented the first Social Innovation Fund in the U.S. Government, a model adopted across federal agencies.
Juliet Fink Yates has been working to address digital equity since 2001 when she was managing a small ISP for 10,000 low-income Philadelphians without Internet access for the Critical Path Internet Project. For many years, she worked as the Chief Learning Officer at Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers at the intersection of adult education, technology, and healthcare. In 2010, she wrote, in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia, the broadband stimulus grant that brought $5.4 million to low-income communities to set up computer labs, which became known as KEYSPOTS, in 77 locations, reached out to cultivate the key partners involved in that grant, and helped to design the program’s structure, overseeing a team that managed 28 of those KEYSPOTS. She was a founder of the Technology Learning Collaborative, Philadelphia’s first professional development organization dedicated to digital literacy providers and advocates and was a member of the City of Philadelphia’s Digital Literacy Alliance until she joined the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology as the first Digital Inclusion Fellow.
Monique Tate is a Director for Community Tech New York, educating Community Wireless Network advocates & enthusiasts across the country; in addition to lecturing in Canada and Germany. She began work in this field in 2011 and continues implementing broadband sharing in Detroit & NY. She has introduced thousands to Community Technology and recruited & educated hundreds in Digital Stewardship, Community Leadership, Community Networks, and Digital Justice Coalition building. Monique is Co-Chair of the City of Detroit GO DATA Advisory Commission!
In 2016 - 2020, she deployed and managed the largest community network in Detroit, for the Equitable Internet Initiative, with nine relay sites, three Solar Powered WIFI & Charging Stations, and activated the first Detroit public park (Bennett Playground) with WIFI, serving thousands. This community network is still growing today!!
Greta Byrum is an urban planner specializing in broadband technologies and tech policy, equity, governance through program design and collaborative action research. She serves as Principal for the Broadband and Digital Equity Principal at HR&A Advisors, and is an Opportunity Fund Fellow with the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society with a focus on digital safety and security in the context of the Digital Equity Act. Previous to her work with HR&A and Benton, Greta built the Resilient Communities program at New America, an initiative bringing storm-ready mesh networks to five environmental justice communities in NYC; she founded Community Tech NY, a non-profit organization bringing technical assistance and community organizing support to communities in New York, Detroit, and rural Tennesee; and she also co-founded the Digital Equity Laboratory at the New School and stood up the Just Tech program at the Social Science Research Council. Greta lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley.
Dr. Karen Mossberger is Frank and June Sackton Professor in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, and director of the Center on Technology, Data and Society. She researches digital inequality, digital government, and the impacts of technology use in communities. She is author or co-author of 7 books, including “Choosing the Future: Technology and Opportunity in Communities” (Mossberger, Tolbert and LaCombe, Oxford University Press, 2021), which was honored with the 2022 Goldsmith Book Prize for best academic book by the Shorenstein Center, Harvard University. She has conducted research on digital inclusion for the City of Chicago, Cuyahoga County, OH, Phoenix Housing Department, and City of Tempe, and her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation, among others. Her center has partnered with the Marconi Society to offer an online Digital Inclusion Leadership Certificate for states, local governments, Tribes, and nonprofits through ASU.