PRESS: SECU Foundation provides support for the Institute for Emerging Issues’ effort to increase digital literacy and access across North Carolina.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Greg Hedgepeth | glhedge2@ncsu.edu

Maggie Woods | mjwoods2@ncsu.edu

RALEIGH, NC (November 4, 2021) —The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University is pleased to announce it has received a $225,000 grant from the SECU Foundation to support its Building a New Digital Economy in NC (BAND-NC) initiative. The program, launched in June 2020, is designed to increase the number of people with internet in their homes with the goal of making North Carolina the first state in the nation where every county has a digital inclusion plan in place. The SECU Foundation joins numerous state and local funders investing in communities to ensure NC is “first in digital inclusion.” The funding will specifically support capacity building for digital inclusion in the Northeastern, Northwestern and Sandhills regions of North Carolina.

“Higher broadband adoption rates are closely linked to increased economic success,” said Leslie Boney, Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues. “This investment gives us a chance to work with counties in regions lagging behind—to increase digital literacy and the number of homes using broadband for education, work and health.”

Working closely with the NC Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO), BAND-NC has provided mini-grants to communities across the state that are implementing digital inclusion plans, beginning a digital inclusion planning process, or are looking to meet immediate digital needs.

“In today’s environment, the internet and supported devices such as computers and cellphones are vital to how we engage with others, learn, work, and know what’s going on in our local communities and the world,” said Jama Campbell, Executive Director of the SECU Foundation. “BAND-NC will help fill the gap for those with little or no access to internet services, especially in rural or underserved areas of our state.  SECU Foundation is proud to help the Institute for Emerging Issues move forward with great success to bring digital equity to all 100 counties of our state.”

COVID-19 has exposed the digital divide in North Carolina and its consequences for all households. Students and adults who don’t have access to the internet, don’t have a computer or laptop, or don’t know how to use them are struggling to compete in an increasingly digital economy. IEI’s BAND-NC initiative works alongside communities across NC to create opportunities for everyone to access and be able to use affordable internet and devices.

“Building capacity for digital inclusion is imperative for our economic future. We look forward to working with leaders in the Northeast, Northwest and Sandhills to embark on this important work together,” says Maggie Woods, BAND-NC Director.

To learn more, visit iei.ncsu.edu/band-nc. Leaders in the Northeastern, Northwestern or Sandhills regions of North Carolina who want to get involved in digital inclusion should reach out to Maggie Woods at mjwoods2@ncsu.edu.

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About Institute for Emerging Issues
The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at North Carolina State University is a nonpartisan public policy organization focused on the state’s vibrancy and economic competitiveness. Since 1986, the Emerging Issues Forum has attracted leaders in business, education and public policy to discuss issues with profound implications for North Carolina’s future prosperity. For more than three decades, the Forum has helped catalyze the policy reforms, public investments and other proactive responses required to build an enduring capacity for progress in North Carolina.

About SECU and the SECU Foundation
A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has been providing employees of the state of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for 84 years.  The Credit Union also offers a diversified line of financial advisory services including retirement and education planning, tax preparation, insurance, trust and estate planning services, and investments through its partners and affiliated entities.  SECU serves over 2.6 million members through 274 branch offices, 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Member Services via phone, a website, www.ncsecu.org and a Mobile App.  Members can also follow and subscribe to SECU on Facebook and YouTube.  The SECU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded by the contributions of SECU members, promotes local community development in North Carolina primarily through high impact projects in the areas of housing, education, healthcare and human services.  Since 2004, SECU Foundation has made a collective financial commitment of over $216 million for initiatives to benefit North Carolinians statewide. In addition to the website, highlights are also available on the SECU Foundation Instagram page.