Digital Equity Focus Area
Improving access to modern digital resources has emerged as a key focus for The Bronx Community Foundation’s work.
At The Bronx Community Foundation, we believe that access to broadband and digital resources is a human right. Our community, being one of the most diverse in the country, is full of world-class innovators. A lot of innovations have come from The Bronx and we need to continue to enable the next generation of innovative thinkers by providing the necessary resources.
In the “digital desert” of The Bronx, technological connectivity has the potential to relieve the inequities we face. Problems of access to online education and training, employment, social and civic engagement, financial resources, and health have become inextricably tied to Internet access in the 21st century. So we’re creating 21st-century solutions, partnering with local organizations who have been working to close the digital divide.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic The Bronx Community Foundation, as a part of The Bronx Community Relief Effort, gathered 30+ institutions in The Bronx who were providing digital resources and services in The Bronx. We met on a weekly basis to discuss challenges our community was facing focused on the digital divide, with our initial focus on education.
New York City schools had to go remote very quickly. Having to execute a first-of-its-kind emergency effort, the city’s distribution of tablets to students for remote learning suffered issues of efficiency and didn’t meet the educational needs of every student. Partnering with organizations like Dreamyard and Here to Here, we distributed over 2,000 Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hotspots to students.
The success of these efforts has inspired us to keep going. We continued our work in forming The Bronx Digital Equity Coalition to combat deep-rooted disparities in our community, including:
- The Bronx has the lowest broadband adoption rates of any borough and the disparities are even more pronounced at the neighborhood level, with 38% of The Bronx not having access to broadband.
- Nearly 1 in 5 teens cannot finish their homework because of the digital divide.
- Roughly one-third of households with children ages 6-17 and whose annual income falls below $30,000 a year do not have a high-speed Internet connection at home.
The Bronx is home to children, families, seniors, and just about every socio-ethnic background on Earth. We are rich in diversity and strong as we face the mountainous challenge of building links which will address digital inequities that are still present in our community. We are addressing this inequity and doing so head-on, urgently and with conviction.
Our mission is to address the digital inequity in our community and to bring about real change and growth through grants, volunteers, donations, and hard work. We believe in the strength of our community, and when we come together for a common goal, we will succeed.
Click Here to see what the Digital Equity Coalition accomplished in its first year.