Future 50 seeks funds for digital literacy

Katy Smith
Columbus CEO
Members of Columbus CEO's Future 50 want to support digital literacy skills in East, Far East and Southeast Columbus.

A group of volunteers is working to help close the digital divide that leaves some community members without internet access.

Members of Columbus CEO's Future 50 want to support digital literacy skills in Columbus City Schools Region 2 in East, Far East and Southeast Columbus. The digital divide group, led by Tasha Booker and Elon Simms, plans to hold a virtual pitch competition for nonprofits in November or December with a goal of raising $50,000. The winning nonprofit organizations can receive up to two years of support for literacy programming in the target area.

Apply now:Future 50 class of 2022 nominations closing Sept. 20

Why focus on digital literacy?

"Often, the solution to the digital divide focuses on ensuring greater access to devices, decreasing barriers of internet costs, and increasing digital infrastructure," the group says in a statement. "These are great first steps. We also recognize the need to support building digital literacy as a tool that provides residents with the skills to use the internet to improve their lives.

See who they are:Meet Columbus CEO's Future 50 class of 2021

"Our goal is to increase educational outcomes for students and support and build community-wide digital literacy. We desire to prepare all members of our community for the future."

To support this cause, make a donation to The Columbus Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund - Digital Equity Fund and mark it “Future 50.”

Group members include Tasha Booker, City Year senior vice president for external engagement; Elon Simms, vice president of community impact, Crane Group; Michelle Moskowitz Brown, executive director, Local Matters; Mallory Donaldson, chief program officer, Commission on Black Girls and Young Women; Courtney Falato, vice president and program officer, global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase; Kristen Harris, co-founder, Portfolio Creative; Wil James, recruiting officer, Columbus Division of Police; Lachandra Baker, senior director, employee engagement and DEI, National Church Residences; Megumi Robinson, senior director, Belle Communication; Theresa Saelim, affordable lending relationship manager Midwest division at JPMorgan Chase; Dan Sharpe, vice president, community research and grants management at the Columbus Foundation; Randal Sistrunk, director of development at Orange Barrel Media and IKE Smart City; Brian Suiter, principal, RiverWest Partners; and Dante Washington, director of team strategic partnerships and business development at Columbus Crew.

A second Future 50 workgroup is raising funds to increase food access with free, 24/7 community refrigerators.