Innovators in Digital Inclusion: Connecting for Good

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With a great amount of fanfare, Google picked Kansas City as its first Google Fiber city in July 2012. But the community’s commitment to full digital inclusion predates and runs much deeper than Google Fiber. Connecting for Good is one of Kansas City’s key digital inclusion partners. Michael Liimatta and Rick Deane knew each other through different community activities when, in 2011, they brainstormed the idea of Connecting for Good and found in it a mission they could share. The first year of the organization was built on their sweat equity, and they quickly realized that funding would be required to sustain operations. Deane had been involved with the Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance (KCNA), a (now-defunct) organization focused on community rehabilitation (outreach and cleanup projects) as well as housing and utility development in low-income pockets of the city. Liimatta wanted Connecting for Good to be seen as an authority on digital inclusion. He designed the organization’s website to be a resource for those who wanted to learn more about the digital divide. The website, as well as a strong social media presence, helped brand the organization. Connecting for Good became a founding leader in the digital inclusion movement. News outlets knew to call the organization when reporting on digital inclusion issues.. And, in 2015, Kauffman renewed its support with an additional $75,000 to fund staff capacity, professional development, and fundraising strategies. [Matthew Kopel is Program Manager at the National Digital Inclusion Alliance]


Innovators in Digital Inclusion: Connecting for Good