Alliant First to Sign Digitunity’s Corporate Pledge to End Digital Divide 06/06/2022 • Alliant News • Press Releases Digitunity, a national non-profit organization that connects low-income people with the computer donations they need, announced that Alliant Credit Union has signed The Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide, becoming the first national Cornerstone Partner in the quest to close the "digital divide." Since the mid-1980s, Digitunity, its predecessor organization, and community partners have placed hundreds of thousands of computers with people in need. Providing that technology is essential for helping people to succeed in school, participate in the economy, and improve their communities. Alliant, a nationwide digital credit union and one of the largest challenger financial institutions, has more than 650,000 members nationwide and $15 billion in assets. By signing The Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide, Alliant commits to support digital equity by donating new or end-of-cycle computers or making a financial contribution to advance computer access and digital skills. They will also engage employees, members, and partners in the work of digital inclusion, and introduce other leaders in business, government, education, philanthropy, and community to The Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide. "We are thrilled to have an organization like Alliant, with its foresight, social consciousness, and national reach, join us in our mission to close the digital divide," said Scot Henley, Executive Director of Digitunity. "With Alliant as a partner, we will be able to elevate the issue, accelerate our efforts, and help more families." Alliant Credit Union is a natural choice as a founding partner in Digitunity's program. The financial services giant sponsors technology donation programs, encourages staff and members to volunteer as "digital navigators," and issues grants to community groups working toward digital equity through its charitable foundation. "As a digital challenger in the financial industry, we feel a particular obligation to create a more equitable digital world," Dennis Devine, President and CEO of Alliant Credit Union said. "We achieve this mission through key strategic partners like Digitunity, who embody our guiding principles to be more savvy, selfless, and socially responsible. We're proud to be the Cornerstone Partner in their effort to close the technology gap." More than 36 million people in the United States lack access to basic technology most people take for granted, including reliable internet access, a computer, and the skills to use digitally-connected devices. The problem disproportionately affects communities of color, but persists across all boundaries from coast to coast. This disparity between resourced and under-resourced communities is known as the "digital divide." It permeates into every aspect of life, creating educational, economic, and career disenfranchisement. Children are unable to complete homework. Parents cannot search for and apply for jobs. Families are cut off from access to community services. Through the Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide, Digitunity hopes to align the support and collective voice of influential, resourceful organizations in business, government, education, philanthropy, and community organizations with the passion and dedication of their Digital Opportunity Network, which includes nearly 1,500 frontline, community-level groups. "The number-one predictor of economic success used to be a high school diploma. Now, it's having access to technological tools and the skills to use them," Susan Krautbauer, Senior Director of Strategy and Development at Digitunity, said. This national-scale gap in opportunity is multi-faceted and pervasive. It results from a number of interwoven, systemic issues. Solving it will require building and expanding collaborations on a similar scale. It is the reason Digitunity launched the Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide. "Because of the nature of this issue, we believe fostering collaboration and relationships between entities throughout the community, businesses, service providers, community leaders, volunteers, government representatives, academics, and the media, is critical for creating an inclusive future," Krautbauer said. "No one organization can do this alone, but together, we can ensure underrepresented, marginalized people have access to the technology they need to thrive today and in tomorrow's digitally-connected society." The four pillars of Digitunity's pledge are: Access to Technology - People must have access to secure, reliable, and connected large-screen devices to work, learn, and develop the skills they need. Digital Skills & Education - Digital literacy is fundamental to education, finance, employment, telehealth, communication, security, community, and efficiency. Community Engagement & Impact - Those in need benefit most from engaged people and organizations in their communities. Those systems need to enable and sustain impact. Achieving Change - There is a direct line from racial inequity to poverty, and poverty to the digital divide. The corporate sector is a critical partner in developing innovative solutions that can benefit marginalized communities while having broad societal beneﬁts. Each organization that commits to the Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide will be: Provided ongoing opportunities for active participation and engagement to bolster desired outcomes. Receiving access to a variety of tools, resources, research, and thought-leadership opportunities. Recognized by name and organization on the Corporate Pledge webpage on the Digitunity website. Included in a quarterly press release announcing new organizations that join. Featured in promotional and media campaigns to promote overall participation and adoption. "We're thrilled with the commitments we've received so far. We welcome everyone who wants to join in the coming months," Krautbauer said. "Together, we can move beyond incremental change to create a future where everyone can thrive in education, employment, and connectedness." Digitunity is in discussion with a number of leading businesses and other organizations. They will be announcing new partners in the weeks to come. Please visit Digitunity.org to learn more about Digitunity and the Corporate Pledge to End the Digital Divide. You can sign the pledge at digitunity.org/sign-the-pledge.