THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015
Now accepting applications for the first-ever Digital Inclusion Fellowship
When people have access to the web, opportunities are just a click away—from learning how to sign up for health care, to finding affordable housing, to keeping in touch with family and friends. But today, more than 60 million Americans still aren’t using the Internet at home. While there are organizations across the U.S. that want to help bring these people online, many of them don’t have the in-house expertise or resources to launch new programs.
That’s why, in partnership with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), we’re launching the Digital Inclusion Fellowship. The fellowship will pair 16 people with local community organizations in our eight Google Fiber metro areas—Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Nashville, Provo, Raleigh-Durham and Salt Lake City—where they’ll spend a year building a digital inclusion program from the ground up.
via Google Fiber Blog.
If ever you wondered what I did in addition to research the video below will tell you! I have been gifted the opportunity to work with groups of BRILLIANT young people for the past three years and the experience has been invaluable. The privilege of assisting in molding the minds of our future leaders in STEM is one that I truly cherish 🙂
The revolution will not only be televised but apparently it will also be uploaded, downloaded, streamed, posted and tweeted as well.
via How technology and social media spawned a new civil rights movement | theGrio.
Since my first few posts back in the Fall of 2013 there has been an evolution in my professional interests which I now dub Community Digital Inclusion Advocacy! I fell into this awesome work as a result of my responsibilities in my current position. Luckily I have also been fortunate enough to marry my professional interests with my requirements for finishing my PhD. Currently I am gradually working my way through my last graduate milestone known as THE DISSERTATION. Now that I know that there is a light at the end of the grad school tunnel I have begun to ponder my next career transition. What do I consider essential characteristics of an ideal organization to work for you ask?! I shall enlighten you below:
- Public policy focused–> On digital inclusion as it relates to:
- Digital literacy
- Capital Enhancement
- Youth Development
- Community engagement & empowerment centered
- Promotes resource creation and self-sufficiency within communities
- Prioritizes social good and organizational responsibility
- Encourages consciousness raising employee engagement i.e. community mentorship
- Is culturally relevant and responsive
- Interested in learning the nuances of the communities they are collaborating with and builds with them
- Collective impact & collaboration centered
- Values the significance of holistic partnership building
- Sets standards of good practice
- Provides opportunities for upward mobility
As I continue to develop my skills I remain confident that I will land in the hands of a like-minded organization where I will be challenged in ways that shape me into a solid advocate for digital inclusion.
I searched on Google images today for pictures that depicted the notion of “philanthropy”. Unsurprisingly I found a common theme among most of the images which were sets of hands. Now I will not discount the diversity in the manner in which these hands were depicted. Some showed fingers knit together and intertwined around the earth (comradery)…others cupped coins (monetary means), cut out paper hearts (sympathy not to be confused with empathy), or soil from the earth (resources). One of the most common images and most off putting were those of hands reaching from some undefinable abyss up toward an image of money or a nothingness that screamed “charity”. Spending several years in graduate school for Community Psychology (Finally at dissertation stage YAS!) I have extensively sought out to learn the difference between empowerment and philanthropy. Often these two concepts are synonymous with one another. Buzz words that organizations utilize to demonstrate “giving back”.
I say that these two concepts are indeed vastly different. Philanthropy as defined by Google is “the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes” whereas to Empower is to “give (someone) the authority or power to do something”. The key word here is POWER. Philanthropic endeavors tend to start with someone else being perceived as “less than” whereas initiatives focused on empowering individuals perceive them as capable agents (not victims) that simply need to be guided toward resources and tools.
I could ramble on about the loads of theory and research studies that discuss this difference but I won’t. This blog is not meant to be another academic sounding board that values quantifiable findings over the importance of building relationships. Instead I will offer this…any organizations that seek to create or reform their divisions dedicated to social responsibility should consider conversations before writing checks. Understand that empathy and sympathy do not equate the same. Being solely numbers driven does not take into account impact. People are not products or tokens to be paraded around to illustrate your charitable donations. Instead consider how you might revise your efforts to be curators of civic innovation. If you’d like to know more about how you can accomplish this shoot me a message on LinkedIn and hire me after I graduate in 2015 🙂