“The Town Link” Grants Fund Digital Inclusion/Literacy, Provide Tablets & Computers

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Associate Director for Media Relations, 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – The Greenlining Institute is pleased to announce grants to 10 grassroots Oakland organizations working to close the digital divide. The program, called “The Town Link,” is a partnership between Greenlining and the City of Oakland aimed at increasing internet adoption and digital literacy in communities that have lacked internet access, including communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. In a report released last year, The Greenlining Institute found a startling correlation between East Bay neighborhoods lacking broadband access and neighborhoods that had been redlined beginning in the 1930s.

“What we’re doing here is really new, involving local community organizations that haven’t traditionally been involved in broadband work but who have strong links to the community, and using those community links to target the digital divide,” said Greenlining Institute Technology Equity Legal Counsel Vinhcent Le. “We’re proud to partner with the City of Oakland on this effort to build digital inclusion and digital literacy, make residents aware of free and affordable broadband plans, and provide computers to residents who need them. You simply can’t participate in the modern economy without broadband, and no Oaklander should be left behind.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “As an incubator of innovative policy ideas and an advocate for transformative change, Greenlining exemplifies the values of an #OaklandUndivided leadership partner. Together, our collective impact will ensure that all Oakland public school students have access to the tools at home necessary for a 21st century education: a personal computer, reliable internet, and culturally responsive tech support. Congratulations to the 10 community-based organizations selected to champion outreach and digital inclusion. Together we are Oakland Undivided!”

The 10 local organizations receiving $10,000 each, funded by the City of Oakland, are:

  •         Allen Temple Baptist Church
  •         Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS)
  •         Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI)
  •         El Timpano
  •         Homies Empowerment
  •         Oakland Workers Fund
  •         Roots Community Health Center
  •         St Mary’s Center
  •         The Unity Council
  •         Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay

The funding from Town Link will enable the groups to provide computers and tablets to residents who lack devices, and to conduct trainings and educational workshops in their communities.

“Our community has shared the need for computers, education and affordable, reliable internet,” said Homies Empowerment Partnerships Coordinator J.P. Hailer. “We are very grateful that Town Link is giving us the opportunity to meet the needs of our community by providing technology and digital literacy services so that individuals and families are empowered with the skills and resources they need for daily living.”

“Investing digitally in the AAPI immigrant community is like investing in the next generation of innovation and corporations,” said Shirley Gee, Executive Director of the Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay. “You never know when a genius is born — note immigrant founders like Steve Chen of YouTube, Eric S. Yuan of Zoom, or Eric Thich Vi Ly of LinkedIn, to name a few.  Not only is The Greenlining Institute bridging the divide with broadband connectivity and digital literacy for communities like ours in the short term, they may very well be seeding the next generation of AAPI corporate founders.  Stay tuned!”

With the announcement of these grants, partners can begin working on their campaigns to be complete by the fall of 2022.

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit www.greenlining.org.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE works toward a future when communities of color can build wealth, live in healthy places filled with economic opportunity, and are ready to meet the challenges posed by climate change.

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