Gary-based GIVE Indiana will use a grant from the Legacy Foundation to combat the digital divide in Northwest Indiana.
The lack of broadband access is tied to a lack of economic opportunity in cities across the U.S. This link is known as the digital divide.
Half of Gary’s residents don’t have broadband access, according to data from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The U.S. Census Bureau also reports that the community experiences a 32% poverty rate.
The funds will help GIVE Indiana host conferences and meetings to educate community members about the digital divide. The organization aims to reach people of all ages and demographics.
“As we strive to eradicate poverty in our community, we recognize that access to reliable internet is directly correlated to economic opportunity,” said Burgess Peoples, GIVE Indiana president and CEO, in a press release. “This grant will lead to greater community engagement and education, including training programs and events that will introduce our neighbors to previously unknown opportunities in the tech space.”
GIVE Indiana also will oversee community outreach for the Gary Fiber Smart House. The Smart House will be a technology workforce and educational training hub. It will serve residents housed in Gary's historic Union Station.
“As we collectively work to lift up the region by closing the digital divide, it takes organizations like GIVE Indiana and the Legacy Foundation to recognize the importance of educating our neighbors on issues while we seek solutions,” said Tom Dakich, CEO of Quantum Corridor.
The tech company Quantum Corridor built a fiberoptic network linking Northwest Indiana and Illinois.
“These funds are an important step for the community,” Dakich said.
The Legacy Foundation invests in nonprofit services and improvement efforts in Lake County. Established in 1992, the foundation has awarded over $50 million in grants and scholarships.
GIVE (Guaranteed Income Validation Effort) Indiana provides support to individuals and families in impoverished and underrepresented communities.