Bridging the Digital Divide, a digital inclusion program created by professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP (EY US), helps local organizations provide underserved students with hardware access, connectivity, and mentorship.
The firm’s Atlanta office has a history of engaging with the local communities through an annual United Way fundraising campaign as well as quarterly days of community service. Through this sustained community outreach, employees have become aware of the digital divide among families and young people in many of Atlanta’s low-income communities. For example, more than 6% of Atlanta households do not have a computer and over 12% do not have internet connectivity. In response to this need, EY US formed a collaboration with local nonprofit Inspiredu, which promotes digital inclusion and literacy among Atlanta residents. Through interactive workshops, Inspiredu’s Family Learning program helps parents and kids access and use digital learning tools responsibly.
“Fundamentally, we believe access equals enablement and opportunity,” said Kevin Brown, EY Bridging the Digital Divide Executive Sponsor. “With the right training, tools, and connectivity, more people can access more resources in pursuit of healthier, more connected and successful lives.”
EY Atlanta has supported Inspiredu’s workshops by distributing more than 30 laptops to families, facilitating digital literacy training, and offering troubleshooting support. Its employees have also participated in device donation drives and volunteer events hosted at the Inspiredu warehouse, sorting, cleaning, and repairing donated devices that were ultimately provided to students and families. Through EY Atlanta’s United Way fundraising campaign, employees also donated nearly $80,000 to local organizations addressing the digital divide across Atlanta.
“Through our partnership with Inspiredu we have been able to serve 1,249 families and distribute 1,358 devices,” said Paul Cahill, EY Atlanta Digital Divide Executive Sponsor.
Together, EY Atlanta and Inspiredu have helped bring together technology and training to meet students where they are in their digital literacy journey.