The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) has named David Keyes, the Digital Equity Manager for the City of Seattle, as the first recipient of the Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award.

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

“The leadership and affiliates of NDIA who provide local digital inclusion efforts around the country are honored to recognize David Keyes, who has championed a holistic approach to closing the Digital Divide,” said NDIA Director Angela Siefer. “This approach goes beyond computers and wires to include affordable broadband service, the skills needed to make the most of technology, and the content and services relevant to users’ lives.”

The award will be presented on May 18, 2016 at Net Inclusion: The National Digital Inclusion Summit, by Adrianne B. Furniss, Executive Director of the Benton Foundation.

The 175 local and national government, libraries and nonprofit organizations that comprise the National Digital Inclusion Alliance are leaders on the front lines working to close the Digital Divide. The NDIA’s diverse expertise and experiences uniquely position the organization to identify the best of the best in providing local digital literacy training and public access programs – and promoting in-home broadband adoption.

In 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. Seattle recently unveiled a new Digital Equity Action Plan.

NDIA’s Director, Angela Siefer states, “In 1997 David was appointed Seattle’s Community Technology planner and within a couple of years he was a leading figure nationally in the movement we then called “community technology”.  Despite being busy leading the City of Seattle’s model digital equity programs, David continually lends his leadership skills and thoughtful guidance to state and national efforts. NDIA is proud to award David the first Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award.”

“Charles Benton dedicated his life to ensuring everyone, especially the most vulnerable, have affordable access to the communications tools and the skills required to fully participate in our society,” said Benton’s Furniss. “David Keyes embodies that dedication.”

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) formed in the spring of 2015 to be a unified voice for local technology training, home broadband access and public broadband access programs. NDIA works 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 Benton Foundation works to ensure that media and telecommunications serve the public interest and enhance our democracy. It pursues this mission by: 1) seeking policy solutions that support the values of access, diversity and equity; 2) demonstrating the value of media and telecommunications for improving the quality of life for all; and 3) providing information resources to policymakers and advocates to inform communications policy debates. For more information, visit www.benton.org.

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