How did we get here?

The History of the Coalition

In recent years, many Franklin County residents have effortlessly accessed the internet at home, work, school, and throughout our communities. Yet, for a surprising percentage of our population, broadband access is elusive and not readily available in homes, apartments, shelters, and other residential locations. 

In April 2020, a number of Franklin County organizations began participating in informal, virtual meetings to more closely examine the status of broadband challenges for area residents. Over time, this organic gathering has grown to include business, government, education, non-profit and social sector representatives now known as the Franklin County Digital Equity Coalition.  Thanks to the investment of The Columbus Foundation, an updated assessment of our region’s broadband assets and opportunities provided the Coalition with a guide for short and long-term possibilities for increasing broadband adoption.

The shared digital equity challenges of 2020-21 created a determination to greatly reduce or eliminate the digital divide. The Coalition and its working groups meet several times each month, and the momentum for this collective effort continues to increase. The Coalition also recognizes and respects the significant investments made by numerous Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in our community, and values the ongoing partnership of ISPs to collectively meet the digital equity needs of all Franklin County residents.

The Coalition currently consists of more than 30 public, private and non-profit entities throughout Franklin County working to create long-term solutions to digital equity. We believe digital equity is integral to achieving economic, educational, racial, and social equity.

Steering Committee Members

Columbus Metropolitan Library

YWCA Columbus

Ohio Health

The Columbus Foundation

Jewish Family Services

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

Columbus State Community College

City of Columbus

Smart Columbus

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

National Digital Inclusion Alliance

Franklin County Data Center

City of Westerville

Columbus City Schools

Steering Committee Members

Nikki Scarpitti

Director of Strategic Initiative & Advocacy

Co-Chair

Christie Angel

President & CEO

YWCA Columbus

Autumn R. Glover

President

Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT) // Ohio State Wexner Medical Center

Douglas Kridler

President

The Columbus Foundation

Patrick Losinski

CEO

Columbus Metropolitan Library

Matthew Martin

Community Research & Grants Officier

The Columbus Foundation

Karen Mozenter

CEO

Jewish Family Services

William Murdock

Executive Director

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

Charles W. Noble, III

Chief of Staff

Columbus State Community College

Sam Orth

Director of Technology

City of Columbus

Mark Patton

Vice President

Smart Columbus

Bisha Rumicho

Life Skills Leader

Columbus Metropolitan Library

Aaron Schill

Director of Data & Mapping

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

Angela Siefer

President & CEO

National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA)

See the Franklin County Digital Equity Coalition Structure & Organization Chart.

Organizational Members

AECOM
Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio
BroadbandOhio
CAS
Catholic Social Services
Central Ohio Primary Care
City of Columbus
City of Dublin
City of Westerville
CMHA
Columbus City Council – Office of Elizabeth Brown
Columbus City Schools
Columbus Foundation
Columbus Metropolitan Library
Columbus Partnership
Columbus State Community College
Central Ohio Transit Authority
Creative Housing|Creative Renovations
Franklin County Board of Commissioners
Franklin County Department of Jobs & Family Services
Goodwill Columbus
Ice Miller
Jewish Family Services
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
National Digital Inclusion Alliance
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
One Columbus
Partners Achieving Community Transformation/OSU Wexner Medical Center
Renter Mentor
TECH CORPS
The Ohio State University
The Wells Foundation
The Women’s Center for Economic Opportunity
Vertiv
Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio
YWCA Columbus

DEC Priorities

Expand the affordable, reliable, high-speed home internet options for Franklin County residents at all income levels. This includes increasing the use and quality of internet service provider (ISP) discount offerings, turning municipal and neighborhood-scale pilots into scalable solutions, and continuing to pursue new technology and policy innovations.

Working group chairs:
Sam Orth, City of Columbus
Mark Patton, Smart Columbus

Create a sustainable stream of high-quality digital devices that are available at low-cost to Franklin County residents at all income levels.

Working group chairs:
Vandhana Veerni, Columbus City Schools
Todd Jackson, City of Westerville

Implement an integrated digital life skills/technical support network to assist individuals across the digital literacy spectrum, with specific programming for users with unique support needs.

Working group chairs:
Karen Mozenter, Jewish Family Services
Bisha Rumicho, Columbus Metropolitan Library

Establish an organized and sustained Franklin County Digital Equity Coalition.

See Coalition Steering Committee roster above.

Develop a unified advocacy strategy to educate partners on gaps and opportunities in digital equity and broadband access, and to advocate collectively for effective broadband policy and government, philanthropic, and private funding support that will enable the Coalition to develop innovative solutions to serve Franklin County.

Working Group Chair:
Autumn Glover, Ohio Health