Build Back Better: Digital Equity in the Biden-Harris Administration

Michelson 20MM Foundation

Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 10:00am to 11:30am
Time Zone: 
Virtual Event

Following President Biden’s pledge to make digital equity a cornerstone of his administration, our panel will share their insights on the government’s approach to technology policy, and how the Biden-Harris administration can lead on one of the most potentially transformative economic development investments of the century.

In August 2020, the Michelson 20MM Foundation launched its Connecting California learning series, which convenes the public, private and philanthropic sectors. Connecting California seeks to strengthen collective understanding of the history and root causes of the “digital divides”–the economic and educational gaps created by inequitable access to high-speed internet, computing devices, and digital literacy resources. Featuring business leaders, digital equity practitioners, philanthropic investors and policymakers, Connecting California provides a forum that speaks to different facets of the complex landscape for building digital equity solutions at national, state and local levels. 

Speakers Include:

Adrianne B. Furniss is Executive Director, Board Member, and Trustee of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, a private operating foundation with offices in Evanston, Illinois. Since 1981, the Benton Institute has been committed to access, equity, and diversity to fulfill its mission: that everyone in the United States should have equal access to open, affordable, High-Performance Broadband as a means to deliver individual opportunity, strengthen communities, and ensure a thriving democracy. Currently, Adrianne serves on the Board of Advisors for the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) and as Secretary and Executive Committee member of the Board of Directors for PCs for People.

Gigi Sohn is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. For over thirty years, Gigi has worked to defend and preserve the fundamental competition and innovation policies that have made broadband Internet access more ubiquitous, competitive, affordable, open and protective of user privacy. 

Previously, Sohn was Counselor to Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler; Co-Founder and CEO of Public Knowledge; Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit; Executive Director of the Media Access Project, a communications public interest law firm; and a member of President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters. 

Ms. Sohn holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Broadcasting and Film from the Boston University College of Communication and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

Kathryn de Wit joined Pew in 2018 and leads Pew’s Broadband Research Initiative. Before joining Pew, de Wit was an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, where she focused on telecommunications, cybersecurity, and economic development issues. Before her work at Booz Allen Hamilton, she was a Senior Fellow with the Heinz Endowments. At the Endowments, de Wit led philanthropy efforts focused on youth engagement, place-based grantmaking, and regional economic development. De Wit holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Sociology from Penn State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.