Digital inclusion is one of the most important social justice 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, gain information about medical and health issues, participate in online education and shoping. 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
Google Fiber is installing their superfast 1 GB network in Kansas City, making it one of the most wired cities in America. However, unless we act soon, this effort may actually increase the Digital Divide for thousands of families in our area. Many urban core families simply cannot afford to pay for the fiber service. They also may not have computer equipment to connect and the knowledge to become productive Internet users. For many, Google Fiber is totally out of reach, simply because they are renters and do not own their own homes. Unless their landlords pay the construction fee, they cannot subscribe to even the lowest tier plan of seven years of Internet access for $300. This is critical when you consider the fact that most urban core Kansas City residents are not homeowners.
Our organization has a plan to ensure that all citizens can 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, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) a nonprofit organization that is bridging the Digital Divide. As a wireless ISP, we provide low income families and nonprofit organizations with free and affordable in-home Internet access via WiFi mesh networks. We also build community computer labs and offer technology assistance, low cost refurbished PCs and digital life skills classes.
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:
- With Google Fiber’s launch, we are working to encourage as many families as possible to sign up and pay the $300 construction fee (payable in 12 monthly installments) for seven years of 5 Mb Internet access.
- In some situations, Connect2Compete‘s 4G wirless Internet plan is the most affordable way for other families to get online at home.
- For families that are renters and cannot subscribe to Google Fiber, especially those in multi-unit low income and public housing, we have developed a strategy to get them online too. In our efforts to find the most inexpensive approach to spreading broadband access, Connecting for Good became a wireless Internet Service Provider. Our organization buys bandwidth wholesale and uses point-to-point microwave technology to bring it to needy communities and those with limited access. To get individual households connected, we build wireless mesh networks, spreading connectivity in communities that otherwise would have very limited Internet access.
We currently operate three free Wi-Fi networks; at Rosedale Ridge, a low income housing project in Kansas City, KS; Posada del Sol, a senior high rise in Kansas City, MO and have built a mesh network covering four city blocks at the Juniper Gardens public housing complex. In all we are providing connectivity, free of charge to over 600 KC area households. We are have plans for similar projects at additional local properties for low income families on both sides of the state line.
- Thousands in our area have no PC 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. We offer additional discounts to those who participate in digital literacy training programs.
- 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.
How you can be involved:
- Take a few moments to learn more about our programs
- See “CFG in the Media” on the right menu for local and national media coverage of our efforts.
- Register for our site to receive regular updates via e-mail
- Download the PDF Version of our Mission and Programs Statement .
- If you want to get involved please use our contact form.
Connecting for Good is a registered Kansas not-for-profit corporation #4563276 and has 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions are tax-deductible.