Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award
The fourth Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award is officially open for nominations! This
year, two awards will be made. One will recognize an outstanding individual who has truly made a
difference in the field of Digital Equity; the other will acknowledge an up-and-coming Digital Inclusion
Practitioner. The award will be presented in April at Net Inclusion 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina
by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA).
Do you know someone who has been a champion of digital equity? Potential nominees could either
be longtime 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 in 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 2019 conference will be held April 1 -3 in Charlotte, NC. Register before February 14th to receive the early bird discount. We welcome practitioners, policymakers, academics, public officials, students and others engaged in creating a more equitable society.
The nomination form asks for descriptions of the following characteristics of the nominee:
- Sustained commitment to digital inclusion programs, practices, and/or policy work
- Applied innovative approaches to addressing and solving problems
- Promoted impact evaluation and made extensive use of data to shape programs and share practices
- Demonstrated leadership in her/his community, with impact and inclusion in mind
- Showed commitment to collaboration and inclusion that can be scaled and replicated
Meet the 2019 Champions
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) announced the 2019 Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award winners: PCs for People CEO Casey Sorensen and San Antonio Housing Authority Digital Inclusion Program Manager Munirih Jester.
Sorensen has headed PCs for People for over 11 years and crafted a self-sustainable, scalable social enterprise that is a national leader in digital inclusion. Under Sorensen’s leadership, PCs for People has grown from concept to a network of 300 nonprofits, 12 affiliates, and physical offices in three states that are working together to solve the digital divide. As a result of Sorensen’s efforts, over 250,000 people now have home computers and 128,000 people can access the internet in their home. PCs for People is based in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Munirih Jester serves as the Digital Inclusion ConnectHome Coordinator for the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA). Originally from Brazil, Munirih’s professional background is in Public Policy, Nonprofit Management, and Urban and Regional Planning. In her role as ConnectHome Coordinator, she has been able to deliver digital literacy skills training to nearly 2,000 participants, award nearly 900 free computers, and help connect 1,069 homes to the internet.
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…
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…
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.
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.