Project Success partnered with the school district, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Community Data Clinic, State of Illinois, and PCs for People to expand internet and technology access for families. The laptops were distributed during registration for the new school year.
PCs for People is a national nonprofit which distributes computers donated by corporations and nonprofits and then makes the devices available for families in need.
‘’It was amazing to witness our partners pulling together to provide an essential resource for Georgetown-Ridge Farm families,’’ said Kimberly David, Associate Director of Project Success. ‘’This is a resource we would not be able to provide to families without this collaboration,’’ added David.
During school registration in August of 2021, Georgetown-Ridge Farm CUSD No. 4 gave out 101 laptops and internet hotspots. Funding for this came from a grant to the University of Illinois Community Data Clinic from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity (READY) program.
The funding is part of the state’s Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity (READY) program which looks to expand digital access to communities throughout Illinois.
Anita Chan with the University’s School of Information Sciences says, “The Community Data Clinic (CDC) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has been energized by the cross regional network that the DCEO Broadband Initiative has activated. The DCEO’s rapidly responsive programming allows the CDC to leverage current opportunities and expand the work of our interdisciplinary team of researchers and community leaders – who bridge some of the state’s top talent in data visualization, data justice and community informatics. It also helps us to extend equitable access to technology and support for some of the most vulnerable households in East Central Illinois who are typically overlooked when it comes to technology, and to build a model for addressing the unique needs of poor households who are often burdened with a technology “dignity gap.” Via this work, we hope to highlight Illinois’ leadership in advancing digital equity in the region and beyond.”
UIUC SCHOOL OF INFORMATION SCIENCES: The Community Data Clinic, a mixed methods data studies and interdisciplinary community research lab led by Associate Professor Anita Say Chan, has received a $50,000 grant to address gaps in household access to computing devices, hotspot connectivity, and digital literacy skills in East Central Illinois. The grant is part of the state’s Broadband Regional Engagement for Adoption and Digital Equity (READY) program, which is operated through the governor’s office and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The Community Data Clinic at the University of Illinois is one of only four sites that are partnering with the state on this effort.
“Our award centers UIUC’s leadership in helping the state to expand civic infrastructures and ensure equity in access for Illinois’ diverse populations,” said Chan, who is a principal investigator on the grant along with Tracy Smith, director of research IT and innovation at Illinois.
“Their partnership will result in a research project to inform a new online version of the 211 directory that connects people, based on locality, to dozens of crisis response and social services, including housing, mental health services, and food support. Funded by the United Way of Champaign County and Champaign County Mental Health Board, with a call center run by PATH in Bloomington, Illinois, 211—a service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year—provides information and referrals to 44 counties in the state, all at no cost and with anonymity to users.”
“‘Anita Say Chan, associate professor in the iSchool and the Department of Media and Cinema Studies, has been awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant to spend three weeks at Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia. During her visit, which will take place in May 2020, Chan will lecture on feminist data methods and give a workshop on community data.'”
“‘I am also excited to be able to use the time to deepen my research on and with feminist data justice networks addressing feminicide and online gender-based harassment in the region,” Chan said. “Their research practices and outreach methods to extend the visibility of their data resources have undoubtedly been some of the most impactful cases that scholars have seen emerge in any global context.'”