Knight Foundation Sponsors New Cohort of Communities
WASHINGTON – JUNE 15, 2022 – Seven diverse communities with a wide array of needs and assets, officially joined the US Ignite network today thanks to a $214,000 investment by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. US Ignite will support the communities by identifying federal funding opportunities for broadband and smart city projects, and by providing expert guidance on how to address connectivity and related service needs in under-resourced areas. The seven communities will join the larger network of US Ignite Communities and include:
- Charlotte, NC
- Detroit, MI
- Duluth, MN
- Long Beach, CA
- Miami-Dade County, FL
- Philadelphia, PA
- San Jose, CA
Among the new cohort of communities, US Ignite will work closely with local government officials and leaders from the private, academic, and nonprofit sectors to assess connectivity options in underserved neighborhoods. Through partnerships and peer learning, US Ignite’s goal is to maximize the impact of newly available federal funds, such as those from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program recently announced by the National Telecommunications Infrastructure Association (NTIA).
“We can’t wait to work with them as they discover, vet, and deploy connectivity solutions, and as they build infrastructure and connectivity-driven projects that others can replicate.” Lee Davenport, US Ignite’s Director of Community Development
“Our work with these seven communities comes at the start of an exciting era of broadband investment,” shared Lee Davenport, US Ignite’s Director of Community Development. “We can’t wait to work with them as they discover, vet, and deploy connectivity solutions, and as they build infrastructure and connectivity-driven projects that others can replicate.”
With US Ignite’s help, each community will develop a custom broadband plan to ensure residents gain access to the full value of Internet connectivity. Moreover, US Ignite will create a space for community representatives to candidly share challenges, solutions, and everything in between with each other and the entire US Ignite Communities network. The intelligence gathered from their experiences will inform playbooks on broadband deployment, adoption, and use cases. Playbooks will be published by US Ignite, and made available for free on the US Ignite website.
Knight Foundation announced its investment in US Ignite in March 2022, as part of its goal to leverage technology and data to increase civic engagement in cities across the U.S.
“It’s no longer a question — technology plays a pivotal part in improving everyday life for individuals and communities.” Lilian Coral, Knight’s Director for National Strategy and Technology Innovation
“It’s no longer a question — technology plays a pivotal part in improving everyday life for individuals and communities,” said Lilian Coral, Knight’s director for national strategy and technology innovation. “It’s also true that not everyone has access to technology in today’s interconnected world. US Ignite seeks to tackle that problem by identifying ways to provide broadband deployment in underserved areas, directly empowering residents in countless ways, including by boosting access to educational and economic resources, and to public services. Their work will ultimately build a more connected, informed and engaged community.”
To learn more about US Ignite, visit us-ignite.org.
About US Ignite
US Ignite collaborates with smart communities and research testbeds to drive high-impact solutions to their toughest challenges. Operating like a high-tech startup, our organization delivers timely results by applying technical expertise, stakeholder engagement, and targeted tools. US Ignite works tirelessly to ensure our programs are effective and reach the communities that need them the most.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
We are social investors who support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers.