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. (3-5 Mb)
- 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.
- 70% of Kansas City Public Schools students do not have the Internet in their homes. *
Used by permission of the Open Technology Institute 2014
At Connecting for Good, 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. These are resources with the potential to help an under resourced family move toward a healthier, happier and more secure future.
Digital inclusion is one of the most important social justice and economic development issues of our day. In our digital society, the unconnected are a growing underclass. People without access to the Internet are unable to apply for jobs online, connect with family and friends, access virtual library shelves, or gain information about medical and health issues. They can’t participate in Internet-based GED classes and online higher education or experience the cost-saving advantages of online shopping. Simply stated, they are shut out of the benefits of connectivity that most of us take for granted. This is tragic in light of all the resources that are available on the Internet that have the potential to help an under resourced family move toward a healthier, happier and more secure future.
Connecting for Good, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) a nonprofit organization that has been working to bridge the Digital Divide in the Kansas City metro area since 2011. Our organization is dedicated making sure that everyone has access broadband Internet, regardless of their incomes. While Internet access is available at libraries, schools and other public institutions, we believe connectivity in the home is essential for all Kansas City families if they are to fully participate in our digital society.
Connecting for Good uses wireless microwave technology to bring Internet access to low income families via WiFi mesh networks. We are also working for more public Internet access by building community computing centers and free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city. For under resourced residents of Kansas City’s urban core, we offer low cost refurbished PCs and digital life skills classes several times a week. And we provide technology assistance to nonprofit organizations
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 must be viewed as an essential modern utility; like phone service, electricity and running water.
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 the areas 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 communities 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. A group of committed volunteers is already in place and we are conducting free digital life skills training and awareness sessions at local libraries and other community institutions.
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 $50.00 for those who qualify. We offer additional discounts to those who participate in digital literacy training programs.
D. Internet Access for Low Income Families: Connecting for Good is a wireless Internet Service Provider. Our organization buys bandwidth wholesale and uses point-to-point microwave technology to bring it to needy families and those with limited Internet access. To spread connectivity throughout our community, we build wireless networks, community access computer centers, and public access Wi-Fi hotpspots. We currently operate a free wireless networks at Rosedale Ridge, a low income housing project in Kansas City, KS and at Posada del Sol, a senior high rise in Kansas City, MO. Additionally, the Wi-Fi mesh network we constructed at the Juniper Gardens public housing complex in KCK 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.
- Watch CFG President, Michael Liimatta’s presentation to the Kansas City MO City Council, Oct. 31, 2013.
- View our 1 Million Cups Presentation at the Kauffman Foundation on Jan. 30, 2013.
How you can be involved:
- Take a few moments to learn more about our programs
- Sign up for our e-newsletter to receive regular updates via e-mail
- Download the PDF Version of our most recent Programs and Activities Presentation
- See “CFG in the Media” on the right menu for local and national media coverage of our efforts.
- If you want to get involved please contact us.
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.