Two Atlanta nonprofits receive Comcast grants in digital equity quest

Atlanta nonprofits Raising Expectations and Inspiredu have received a combined $110,000 in grants from cable giant Comcast to help improve digital literacy among metro residents.

The organizations will use the money to launch Connect 404, a program that matches people with limited access and background in navigating the Internet with community members who can help them learn digital skills through training programs. The goal, leaders said, is to improve digital equity in the Atlanta area.

“We are incredibly grateful to Comcast for their generous donation to our Connect 404 Digital Navigators program,” Inspiredu CEO Richard Hicks said in a statement. “Comcast has been a great partner in helping to bridge the digital divide here in Atlanta, and we are proud to support their mission.”

Backers of the effort said that recent research found that of 43 million online job ads analyzed in a study, almost all required digital skills, “including those roles seeking limited education or work experience.”

Comcast Chief Diversity Officer Dalila Wilson-Scott said Connect 404, whose name refers to Atlanta’s area code, helps people with limited digital access improve their skills across all ages and backgrounds.

For instance, she said, it’s often assumed that young people are digitally literate because of how well they have adapted to technology through the use of cell phones and social media.

In reality, that adoption is more about consumerism and doesn’t reflect how much they know about the Internet, how to use it outside of social media or how to use it in a way to get the jobs of the future, she said.

“They know how to access an app or post a TikTok video,” she said. “But we need our young people to be more than consumers of technology. We need them to be creators of new technology and to learn AI. We need them to be tech entrepreneurs.”