Six Silicon Valley community organizations to foster civic participation and digital inclusion with $495,000 in support from Knight Foundation

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Grants help bridge the digital divide in Silicon Valley” on Knight Blog

SAN JOSE, CALIF. (Aug. 20, 2013) The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced the funding of six new projects aimed at improving digital literacy and information access in San Jose, Calif., and Silicon Valley.

Led by a range of community-based organizations from Greenbelt Alliance to the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits, each project leverages the power of technology to spur civic participation and strengthen community ties. One provides digital training to the local nonprofit sector, while another uses technology to connect people with land-use issues so they can improve their neighborhoods.

“By supporting projects that strengthen access to information and technology skills we are creating a more digitally inclusive, networked community,” said Judith Kleinberg, Knight Foundation program director for San Jose and Silicon Valley. “In this way, we open up opportunities for people to shape the future of their communities, either as individuals or through the organizations in which they work.”

Though Silicon Valley is the birthplace of digital and social media, many residents, especially in San Jose, have limited or no access to the tools which have essentially become requirements for 21st century citizenship.

The projects receiving investments include:

Bridging the Digital Divide from People Acting in Community Together (PACT): training low-income residents to use the Internet and online tools to address community challenges, such as public safety or elder health care services. The project involves leadership training, peer-to-peer training and the establishment of mobile community access hubs.

Our Backyard from Greenbelt Alliance: creating a platform to help residents easily find information on land use issues like access to affordable housing or limited transportation choices. Community members will be able to identify local issues through an online platform and collaborate to improve their neighborhoods.

Nonprofit Boot Camp from Social Media for Nonprofits: helping Silicon Valley nonprofit leaders learn to use digital tools and keep up with the latest technology so they can advance their missions and effect social change within the community.

HandsOn Tech from Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits: connecting technology experts with nonprofit businesses to help them use technology to encourage collaboration, cut costs and improve their work to benefit the community. HandsOn Tech was developed with Hands on Network, AmeriCorps VISTA and Google.

BenitoLink from Community Foundation for San Benito County: providing a central platform for San Benito County residents to find useful information and connect with each other about community issues, in response to shrinking local news outlets and a growing demand for this information.

Digital Leaders Intern Program from Palo Alto Housing Corporation: addressing the digital divide in Palo Alto by providing low-income youth with media skills to produce social documentary films about themselves and issues in their community.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.


Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]