On January 27, 2021 AFN hosted Ross Ramsey, executive editor and co-founder of the Texas Tribune, as he interviewed Andrew Quick from Entergy, Cory Anderson with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and Alvin Warren with the LANL Foundation to discuss what grantmakers are doing to bust through barriers and expedite broadband access. The conversation highlighted how funders must act to ensure communities who were already struggling are not further disenfranchised and left behind. The panel showcased examples of how philanthropy is acting to leverage federal broadband investments, creating loan-loss funds to speed up broadband infrastructure, and partnering with corporate entities to ensure access in rural communities.
As we continue to see a record number of COVID-19 cases throughout the United States, it is imperative that philanthropy find ways to help communities connect to, adopt, and use high-speed internet access. In our current reality, internet access is essential to conduct daily, routine activities online such as learning, basic services, telemedicine, and work requirements in some cases, yet it is simply hard to come by for so many individuals. Those without access to this online world – more than 18 million Americans with 14 million living in rural areas, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – risk falling farther behind.
Ross Ramsey, The Texas Tribune
Cory Anderson, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
Andy Quick, Entergy
Alvin Warren, LANL Foundation
Gabrielle Uballez, Asset Funders Network