Comcast invested more than $10 million dollars in 2023 to launch a Digital Equity Network aimed at shrinking the digital divide in the Pacific Northwest. Through a number of investments to dozens of local organizations, hundreds of Oregon and Washington residents received digital skills training, free laptops, connected to low-cost internet service and utilized free WiFi Lift Zones.
See how Comcast’s Digital Equity Network is advancing digital and economic opportunity for students, and families in Oregon and Washington.
In 2023, Comcast also announced a new $2 million investment in Free Geek, a leading local nonprofit advancing economic equity through technology training and career building.
We see firsthand that the digital divide continues to be a persistent challenge for communities in Multnomah County. East Portland, Gresham, Fairview, Wood Village, and Troutdale are home to some of our most disconnected communities. More than 3,000 residents do not own a computer and many others don’t know how to use it effectively. This investment will ensure that these families have the same benefits as others and their children have access to online resources to be successful in school –Juan Muro, Executive Director of Free Geek
Comcast even launched a program made up of employee-led Digital Navigators — individuals who are affiliated with trusted, local, community-based organizations and who help people get online, secure a device and build digital skills.
And our partnership with the Portland Film Festival gave kids the opportunity to learn digital skills through filmmaking opens the door for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators.
The tech leader also added to its long list of Lift Zones, like the one at Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County , which is providing immersive tech and STEM-related activities for kids in Snohomish County.
Lack of internet access in the home limits access to education, and our new Enhanced Lift Zone from Comcast can play a critical role in supporting kids to help them with their schoolwork and activities in reading, writing, math, and science. This space is part of a much larger effort with Comcast to connect students in the home through discounted service programs like Internet Essentials and outside the home with additional Lift Zones at our 12 clubs in Snohomish and Island Counties – Marci Volmer, COO for Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County.
Small business owners face various barriers in today’s digital environment, from access to hardware and software to the digital skills they need to effectively integrate these technologies.
See how our Comcast RISE program helped small business owners like Roberto Villalobos, by providing 100 small businesses in Multnomah County with comprehensive grant packages from Comcast RISE that included a technology makeover, business consultation services, educational resources, a $5,000 grant, and more.
Comcast also continued its multi-year relationship with Operation Military Family Comcast to bridge the digital divide among veterans, including working with and supporting several other veterans organizations in Washington state.
Our partnership with Comcast is invaluable. It has enabled us to better serve and equip Veterans and their families who need a hand-up in the transition process. The laptops are a gateway to benefits, services, and ongoing connections that help improve both mental health well-being and the financial standings of those who have served our country – Mike Schindler, CEO Operation Military Family.