Pleased to share a letter to the editor of Fairmount Photo Press from Blandin President and CEO Kathy Annette…
Recently, a team from Blandin Foundation was in Redwood Falls to celebrate the wrap-up of our partnership with Nobles County in the Blandin Broadband Communities Program. What we saw was impressive: a diverse group of dedicated broadband champions working together to make their communities better.
Over the past 18 months, Martin County’s Broadband Steering Committee of over 40 educators, entrepreneurs, health care professionals, business owners and county, city and tribal officials assessed community technology strengths and gaps, brainstormed ideas and identified ambitious goals: affordable broadband access for all; technology support for k-12 education; and improved public education and awareness about the benefits and opportunities that come from being a connected community. In all, Blandin Foundation invested $86,600 grant dollars to help Martin County achieve these goals, and the community leveraged thousands more, along with many hours of volunteer time.
Taken together, the projects are improving the lives and futures of people all across Martin County. Highlights include: technology training for seniors and businesses; a coder dojo for students, creation of a community calendar; a push to encourage Martin County businesses to “claim their place” on Google maps; computers and other technology for schools; distribution of 50 refurbished computers to income qualifying families, and; a feasibility study to document broadband and help steering committee in charting a path forward for better broadband. By working together, this leadership team has unleashed tremendous energy that will help carry out the projects beyond the life of the grants.
To name just a few – new and upgraded computers and free public Internet access at the Redwood Falls library; training for businesses and new computer users; computer distributed to low income households and innovative tele-health services that help residents age with dignity in place.
Local leadership matters. Blandin Foundation commends the Martin County Steering Committee under the leadership of County Coordinator Scott Higgins, for your vision and dedication to making a more connected and equitable community.