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October 2022
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As a follower of Tech Exchange, you understand the critical importance of closing the digital divide. Connecting our community with digital devices, skills, and internet access has been our mission since we were founded in 1995. We’ve served tens of thousands during that time…yet, for most of these years, the term “digital divide” was unfamiliar to many people. When the pandemic increased the urgency and visibility of the issue, Tech Exchange stepped up to meet the need with community support. Now, national attention on the digital divide is leading to new opportunities to solve the problem. 

Recent federal legislation included $65 billion to increase broadband access, and established the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to subsidize broadband subscriptions for low-income households. Funds were also provided to state agencies to build broadband networks and for regranting to community organizations like Tech Exchange.

We’re thrilled to let you know that Tech Exchange was recently awarded four State of California grants to support our broadband outreach and digital skills workshops. Tech Exchange will receive $380,000 over the next two years for projects at our Oakland TecHub and in the San José area. These grants are funded by the Broadband Adoption Account of the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), a program administered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

“We are very grateful for these grants from the CPUC,” says Tech Exchange’s Director of Development, Amy Himes. “This funding is related to new federal allocations that have started to trickle down. Digital equity advocates at the state level have also been crucial. We received an award from the CPUC’s CASF program in 2019, but not at this remarkable level or with such a quick turnaround time.”

Tech Exchange saw increased donations from corporations and individuals at the height of the pandemic. Some of this support has dwindled even while the community’s need for digital inclusion services remains high. The CPUC CASF grants will provide foundational support as Tech Exchange’s multilingual staff continues to answer the call.

However, government funding is only one piece of the puzzle. “The CASF awards will make it possible for Tech Exchange to plan ahead and expand our core programs,” continues Himes, “but the awards don’t cover 100% of our program costs. It can also take time for state funding to be received. Tech Exchange will continue to rely on individuals and other private funders to bridge the gap.”

Tech Exchange is heart-led and data-driven, and we invite you to join us. Visit the White House website to learn more about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s high-speed internet provisions. Or, download the California Emerging Technology Fund’s 2022 Federal Funding Overview or California ACP enrollment data. Be sure to check out Tech Exchange’s 2021 Impact Report for more info. With new visibility and government funding, plus steadfast support and input from community members like you, Tech Exchange will be able to close the digital divide for even more families throughout the Bay Area in the future.
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Tech Exchange
On the Air

Tech Exchange's Director of Partnerships, Samuel Aristondo, recently appeared on Univision to discuss Tech Exchange's resources for our Spanish-speaking communities.

Our Advisory Board Chair, Cynthia Mackey, was also on the airwaves on KPOO 89.5 to discuss the broader issue of the digital divide in the Bay Area.

As we strive to serve more families, sharing Tech Exchange's message throughout the Bay Area is essential. Thank you, Univision and KPOO!

Sign-Up Events
Staff Spotlight:
Crecencio Ramirez
Crecencio joined us last year as a Program Specialist. Whether providing tech support to a TecHub visitor or assisting refurbishment operations at the warehouse, he has become an indispensable part of the team.

With his help, Tech Exchange has also made remarkable strides in serving the local Mam-speaking community.

"It has been an amazing experience helping to connect our community. Reaching Mam speakers isn't always easy, but we have made some real progress!"

Thank you, Crecencio!

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