Partners Bridging the Digital Divide was born out of a collective recognition by Boulder County community organizations that, as more resources and information become available exclusively online, members of communities that are not connected are falling behind. These communities tend to be comprised of low-income families, senior adults, and immigrant families with English language learners. Each representative organization in our collaborative represents knowledge and experience working alongside these communities.
Prior to the formation of Partners Bridging the Digital Divide, each partner organization recognized the urgency of this issue and had been chipping away at this digital divide in their own way. Some of those
efforts included adding computer literacy components to their current programming, assisting families in
accessing free or low-cost broadband services, or making more public devices available at their locations. These efforts were not strategically aligned and with no large investment addressing the
issue, no significant impact on closing the digital divide has been observed.
This collective recognition brought partners to the table in the summer of 2017 to discuss how to more
effectively collaborate and leverage resources to close the digital divide in Boulder Valley. Since then,
the collaborative has been meeting regularly (every 3-4 weeks) to define an action plan and identify funding and coordination resources. In four months, the group has developed a problem statement, examined causal factors, created a community asset map, identified strategic focus areas, agreed upon key indicators, and created an implementation plan that clearly delineates responsibilities of member
organizations. In the Spring of 2018, the collaborative also hosted successful pilot computer classes
at 4 BVSD schools for Spanish-speaking families. The classes had a 90% graduation rate. After the
classes, participants reported not only feeling more equipped to navigate online systems, such as the
parent portal, but also expressed a budding confidence in their
ability to learn on their own. On a follow-up email, a graduate wrote in Spanish, “I had a great time and
you helped me a lot. I am ready for the next one.