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Alderman Thompson Joins One Economy for Launch of Federally Funded Broadband Initiative in Chicago
Oct 14, 2011 (01:10 PM EDT)
1,500 Households Receive Free Internet, Technology Training and Online Tools
CHICAGO, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Alderman JoAnn Thompson (Ward 16) joined One Economy, AT&T, Mercy Housing Lakefront residents, community and corporate leaders for the launch of a federally funded broadband opportunity initiative in Chicago. We Are Now Connected, a campaign led by global nonprofit One Economy, will bring free high-speed Internet access, digital literacy training, technical support, online programs and resources to 1,600 underserved households in Chicago.
"One Economy was founded with the vision to ensure that every person, regardless of income, could tap into the power of technology to improve their lives," said Kelley Dunne, President and CEO, One Economy Corporation. "With the commitment of the U.S. government and the full engagement of our country's political, corporate and community leaders, we can break down the barriers to broadband adoption and maximize broadband opportunities."
In total, 1,600 Mercy Housing Lakefront households will benefit from this federally funded initiative. Some residents in 13 Mercy Housing Lakefront properties across Chicago will also receive refurbished computers through One Economy's partnership with PC Rebuilders and Recyclers (PCRR).
The event today included remarks from residents and community leaders, including Alderman JoAnn Thompson, Ward 16. Participants also had the opportunity to tour the new Community Technology Center at Mercy Housing Lakefront's Englewood Apartments.
The We Are Now Connected broadband initiative is being funded through a $28.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Broadband Technology Opportunity Program. The grant will allow One Economy to bring affordable access, digital literacy training and online content to the District of Columbia and 31 states over the next 18 months.
"We Are Now Connected is not just about Internet access, but about helping residents learn how to use broadband to find a job, access healthcare information, manage finances, and improve their quality of life," said Felix Matlock, Vice President of Mercy Housing Lakefront at the Englewood Apartments. "This initiative will not only help the individual residents, but it will help stimulate and strengthen the Englewood community and the entire city."
As part of its Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Government recognized the vital role of broadband in economic development and appropriated 7.2 billion towards broadband expansion. Based on successful broadband adoption programs launched nationwide by One Economy over the past ten years, the government awarded the global nonprofit with one of the largest grants for broadband adoption. One Economy received the grant in partnership with the Broadband Opportunity Coalition, a group of the country's leading civil rights organizations, and is supplementing the grant with $23 million in private sector matching support. AT&T provided the largest corporate match.
"AT&T is delighted to partner with One Economy and Mercy Housing Lakefront to open a new world of opportunity to families and individuals across Chicago," Kim McCullough, Director of External Affairs at AT&T said. "We are committed to working together to provide access to the technology and the digital literacy training individuals need to succeed.
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