Celebration of Digital Equality, Fri., Sept. 4, 6:30 PM

Register now for the Celebration of Digital Equality!
 
 
 
Friday, September 4, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (CDT)
Sprint Accelerator
210 West 19 Terrace
Kansas City, MO 64108 View Map 

 

Join us for a special night as we celebrate our efforts to close Kansas City’s Digital Divide. We’ll talk about what we’ve accomplished and share exciting news about upcoming activities. These include:

  • Working with local civic and nonprofit partners as part of HUD’s ConnectHome Initiative which will bring broadband to thousands of school children living in public housing.
  • Bringing Internet, computers and training to Pemberton Park, low income housing project for grandparents raising their grandchildren.
  • A new workforce development project to offer internships for inner city young people to prepare them for tech careers.
  • Working with partner organizations in a hotspot lending program for Kansas City Public Schools students
  • Establishing a new public access computer lab and training center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Come meet our staff, board  and partners. Help us honor some of our special volunteers and learn more about how you can be involved.

Free refreshments will be provided

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26. August 2015 by Michael Liimatta

About Us


The Digital Divide is very real in Kansas City.  We believe it is one of the most important social justice issues of our day.

25% of Kansas City area residents don’t have broadband Internet access at home.

42% of those who don’t use the Internet have annual household incomes of under $25,000, most of whom live in low income housing.

46% of nonusers are minorities. *

Additionally, 70% of Kansas City Public Schools students do not have the Internet in their homes.  40% of students will move at least once during the school year.

Only 20% urban core households in KC’s predominantly minority, low income neighborhoods,  have a PC and Internet connection. (2013 US Census)

kc-broadband-map
Used by permission of the Open Technology Institute 2014

About Connecting for Good

Connecting for Good been bridging the Digital Divide since 2011 with wireless mesh networks, community technology centers, low cost refurbished PCs and free digital life skills classes. It is the only Kansas City area nonprofit, that has digital inclusion as its core mission.  That’s because our core belief is that connectivity equals opportunity. Access to the Internet brings with it a chance to apply for jobs online, connections with family and friends, access to virtual library shelves, information about medical and health issues, online education — GED completion and college courses — and a whole lot more.

Connecting for Good is governed by a community-based board of directors. Our mission is to enable organizations and individuals to use technology to connect with one another in order to have a positive impact on society and the environment. Learn more about the history of Connecting for Good.

Our core values are:

  • Internet connectivity equals opportunity. It is an absolute necessity in order to fully participate as a productive citizen in a digital society.
  • Education is the number one thing that lifts people from poverty. In a digital society it is impossible to pursue a quality education without access to the Internet.
  • In-home Internet access is as essential as any modern utility; like phone service, electricity and running water.

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Program Description

Our three-pronged strategy of Connectivity, Hardware and Digital Literacy is being accomplished through these ongoing activities:

A. Community Technology Centers: We currently operate two community technology centers, at 2006 N 3rd Street in Kansas City KS and 3101 Troost in Kansas City MO. Located in two of Kansas City’s most under resourced neighborhoods, we offer a variety of programs to promote technology use and access, including regular free classes in computer and Internet use.

B. Digital Life Skills Classes: We have developed a curriculum designed to help people in under-resourced urban communities to access online resources and create a brighter future for themselves and their families. In order to take hands on experiences with broadband Internet to these neighborhoods we have a portable computer lab that can be setup in key locations in our targeted communities in order to introduce residents to the online world. We hold Family Computer Days at various community institutions every month.

C. Inexpensive Internet-ready Refurbished PCs: Thousands in our area have no computer at home and cannot take advantage of all the benefits of Internet connectivity. We collect used desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones for this purpose. This equipment is provided to low income residents at an extremely low price, as low as $75.00 for those who qualify. We also assist those who purchase computers to find the most affordable options for Internet service.

D. Internet Access for Low Income Families: We operate free Wi-Fi networks at three low income housing projects; Rosedale Ridge and Juniper Gardens in Kansas City KS and Posada del Sol, a senior high rise in Kansas City MO. The mesh network at Juniper Gardens covers over four city blocks. In all we are providing connectivity, free of charge to 500 low income households. We are have plans for similar projects at additional properties on both sides of the state line.

E. Technology Assistance for for Nonprofit Organizations: Connecting for Good works to support other local organizations to close the Digital Divide.  Through our Train-the-Trainer activities, we teach staff members and volunteers from other agencies how to teach the digital life we’ve developed. To spread connectivity throughout our community, we install wireless mesh networks, community access computer centers, and public access Wi-Fi hotspots.

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Demographics

While we serve people from throughout Greater Kansas City, our efforts have been focused on two of the areas neediest areas, NE Wyandotte County and neighborhoods East of Troost Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri. Up to 80% of residents in these parts of the city do not own computers or have in-home Internet access.

Since March 2013, over 2,000 people from these communities participated in our free classes and took home our high quality, Internet-ready refurbished computers. Our records reveal that:

  • 25% have never used a computer
  • 75% have incomes of under $20,000 a year
  • 75% are over 50 years old
  • 80% are minorities, predominantly African American
  • 2/3 of participants in the free classes are women
  • 1/2 of women 60+ have a child under 18 living with them
  • 90% purchased a computer from us after taking the free classes

The fact that a large majority of them are black women over 50 years old significant. Most have children under 18 years old living with them, many of whom attend the Kansas City Public Schools where 70% of students do not have in-home Internet access.  In a very real way, we are supporting these women, who are looking out for their communities – especially the children – by getting themselves up to speed with the online world. At the same time, he provide them with low cost computers so that the children in their care can have the same advantages of being online as their suburban peers

Funding

Besides seeking grant funding and contributions from the public, Connecting for Good is committed to a social enterprise model of sustainability. Delivering refurbished PCs and providing IT support for other nonprofits covers nearly half of our operating costs.

Videos:

How you can be involved:

Connecting for Good is a registered Kansas not-for-profit corporation #4563276 and has 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions in the form of monetary gifts and equipment donations are tax-deductible.

13. August 2015 by Michael Liimatta

Two Awards Recognize Our Work in Public Housing

Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority director, Thomas Scott, presents to award to CFG CEO, Michael Liimatta

Kansas City, Kansas Housing Authority executive director, Thomas Scott, presents the awards to Michael Liimatta, CFG CEO

At the July 16, 2015 board meeting of the Kansas City, Kansas Housing Authority, a ceremony was held to honor Connecting for Good for receiving two prestigious awards for our efforts to close the Digital Divide in Wyandotte County.

Connecting for Good is this year’s recipient of the Special Achievement Award from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), Kansas Chapter. We also received the Southwest NAHRO region’s Special Achievement in Support of Programs Award. These awards recognize public housing agencies and their partners for innovative programming that promotes self sufficiency and improves the lives of residents.

Since a partnership with the KCK Housing Authority was formed in 2013, Connecting for Good has worked to improve digital connectivity for low income families in Northeast Wyandotte County, Kansas. We have maintained a Wi-Fi network that provides free Internet to 200 units at the Juniper Gardens housing complex. We have also provided digital skills training and inexpensive refurbished computers to families in the community.

Since 2014, we have operated a community computer center at 2006 N 3rd Street in Kansas City KS in a facility owned by the housing authority. It provides daily public access to Internet connected computers for residents of Juniper Gardens and their children and for those who live in the surrounding neighborhood.

The housing authority, established in August 1957, is a non-profit agency that provides affordable housing for low to moderate income families residing in Wyandotte County, Kansas.

NAHRO is the leading housing and community development advocate for the provision of adequate and affordable housing and strong, viable communities for all Americans—particularly those with low- and moderate-incomes.

17. July 2015 by Michael Liimatta

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