Public Testimony To the Neighborhood and Public Safety Committee of the KCMO City Council
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 by Tom Esselman, CEO of Connecting For Good, and Director of the Front Porch Alliance:
“Thank you to the Assistant City Manager Rick Usher for inviting me here today to accept this award. I am speaking on behalf of both Connecting For Good and the Front Porch Alliance, two of Kansas City’s urban core non-profits operating from the Linwood Area Ministry Place (LAMP) campus, the gloriously refurbished beacon of hope and empowerment on Kansas City’s east of Troost corridor along Linwood Boulevard. I’m privileged to also represent another esteemed awardee, Operation Breakthrough, whose director is my wife, Mary Esselman. All three of these organizations provide resources of family support and stabilization for low income families, helping them on a path toward economic and social independence. In addition, we are proud members of the Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion, along with the Kansas City Public Library and many others.
The Google Fiber Community Connections Challenge Award is a shining example, one that I know cities around the country will cite as a leadership model for the City of KCMO’s proactive partnership with both the private sector, in this case Google Fiber, and with non-profit community partners like us.
The public dialogue about ‘Digital Inclusion’ for years has been about technology access, with far less attention paid to the more critical issue of the need to help marginalized communities learn the digital skills so vital in today’s digital world. This award does a wonderful job of helping organizations like ours to focus our time, effort, and resources on the real issues of Digital Inclusion—helping low-income communities achieve sustainable improvements in Education, Employment, Economic Impact, and the Environment.
Thank you so much, the City of Kansas City Missouri, and Google Fiber, for this magnificent support.”
For additional information and to see the full list of winners, click here.
University of Michigan Graduate Students spend time working with Connecting for Good; Local Kansas City & Digital Divide leadership
This is the 2nd year U of M students have worked with the organization to refine processes and provide recommendations for future program enhancements. They also had a chance to meet with local Kansas City leadership as well as those organizations focused on bridging the digital divide throughout our community.
We can’t wait to read about what these students learned and how they think our programs can be made better! Watch for some great ideas being implemented soon!
Team IBAM consists of Iris Nguyen, Mikaela Rodkin, Aaron Steiner, and Blake Van Fleteren, members of the Ross MBA Class of 2017.
Follow #RossOpenRoad to learn more.
Open Road is sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute, the Center for Social Impact, and General Motors.
Kansas City is the first place Google Fiber is giving away its premier service, at no cost to users or the government. That’s because the city has become a primary laboratory in the effort to close the digital divide.