Today, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) led U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to introduce the Digital Equity Foundation Act, legislation to establish a nonprofit foundation to leverage public and private investments to make progress closing the divide on digital equity, digital inclusion, and digital literacy.
The Foundation will supplement the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) work to award grants, support research, provide training and education, engage with stakeholders, collect data, and promote policies to improve digital equity outcomes. The Foundation will be run by a Board of experts specializing in the fields of digital equity, technology, and telecommunications, and will represent diverse communities throughout the U.S.
Congressionally-established nonprofit foundations have had great success in supporting the missions of various government agencies, including NIH, FDA, and NPS, and provide a mechanism to leverage public-private partnerships and support innovation. As the NTIA works to implement the broadband programs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and connect our country, the Digital Equity Foundation will be vital to ensuring the most vulnerable communities have the knowledge and skills to take full advantage of these new connections.