Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award

2018 Nominations Are Closed

Charles BentonThe third Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award is officially open for nominations!  The award will be presented in April at Net Inclusion 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA).

Do you know someone who has been a champion of digital equity?  Potential nominees could either be long time veterans of the digital inclusion field, or new and passionate supporters of digital skills for all. Nationally focused or locally based – We are looking for everyone making difference!

Named for Charles Benton, the founder of the Benton Foundation, the award was created by NDIA to recognize leadership and dedication in advancing digital equity:  from promoting the ideal of accessible and affordable communications technology for all Americans, to crafting programs and policies that make it a reality.

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance is a unified voice for home broadband access, public broadband access, personal devices and local technology training and support programs.  We work collaboratively to craft, identify and disseminate financial and operational resources for digital inclusion programs while serving as a bridge to policymakers and the general public.

The Net Inclusion 2018 conference will be held April 17-19 in Cleveland, OH. Register before March 1st to receive the early bird discount.  We welcome practitioners, policy makers, academics, public officials, students and others engaged in creating a more equitable society.


The nomination form asks for descriptions of the following:

  • Sustained commitment to digital inclusion programs, practices, and/or policy work.
  • Innovative approaches to solving problems and bridging gaps.
  • Thoughtful use of data to shape programs and/or policies.
  • Demonstrated leadership at the local, regional and/or national level.
  • History of collaboration with other people and organizations that can advance digital inclusion.
  • Additional personal or professional characteristics or accomplishments you wish to note.
David Keyes

Meet the 2018 Champion

Deb serves as the founding Executive Director of Next Century Cities, a national nonprofit that supports community leaders working to secure fast, affordable, and reliable Internet for their localities.  With more than 180 members, Next Century Cities brings visibility to broadband issues and informs policy at multiple levels, celebrating local initiative and successes. Before joining NCC, she directed the Tech Goes Home program in Boston, a carefully designed digital equity program that became a national model for linking parents, children and schools to technology resources.  Read More…

David Keyes

Meet the 2017 Champion

Since joining the NTIA in 2009, Tseng has worked to increase broadband access and adoption in underserved communities throughout the United States. From 2009 to 2014, she managed a portfolio of local government and K-12 education grants for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. She was a major contributor to the Broadband Adoption Toolkit published by NTIA in 2013. She continues her work with NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program providing technical assistance to local and state governments that foster digital equity.  Read More…

David Keyes

Meet the 2016 Champion

Over nearly 20 years of public service in Seattle, David Keyes has used data to document community needs and direct programs, been committed to racial and social justice, and built a movement over time by engaging local elected officials, businesses, education partners, and community organizations in solutions. Read More…

Eligibility for this award is limited to U.S. residents. NDIA Staff, Consultants and Board of Directors are not eligible.

The nomination form can be completed here. They will be accepted through March 23rd, 2018.

The Champion will be selected by a committee representing diverse constituencies, geographies, and sectors with an interest in digital inclusion, including NDIA and the Benton Foundation.