HP East Palo Alto Digital Village Celebrates Three Years of Community/High-tech Collaboration
HP (NYSE:HPQ) and its partners in the East Palo Alto Digital Village program are celebrating the third anniversary of a ground-breaking, collaborative project designed to create an information technology (IT) infrastructure and associated programs to enable information access, learning and economic opportunities for the residents of East Palo Alto, Calif.
Since the East Palo Alto Digital Village was launched in 2000, it has realized many of its goals of community empowerment, economic self-sufficiency and organizational collaboration. It has provided teachers and students in a disadvantaged school district with notebook PCs to improve learning, and it has given entrepreneurs, such as Adassa Walker of Like-You-Like-Me Doll Company, vital access to information and the skills needed to grow their businesses.
Today, HP and Digital Village partners, leaders and entrepreneurs are commemorating the anniversary by holding a community event at the East Palo City Hall showcasing the achievements and success stories from the program. Speakers, including Digital Village leaders, HP executives and the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, will highlight the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the program.
"The success of the Digital Village program started with listening to the needs of the community and taking a holistic approach to providing access to education, training and technology," said Debra Dunn, senior vice president, HP Corporate Affairs. "What has been significant for all of us is that over the last three years we've pioneered a model for partnering between the public and private sectors and the community to achieve sustainable growth."
Made possible by a three-year, $5 million HP grant, which included cash, equipment and support services, the program's goal was to create an informed, connected and empowered community by combining technology, "brainpower" and collaborative energy. The grant has served East Palo Alto, where the population of more than 25,000 is predominately Hispanic and African-American and where about 10 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
"HP's Digital Village partnership with East Palo Alto demonstrates what is possible when business and communities share a vision and work collaboratively to achieve a common goal," said Bess Stephens, vice president and director, HP Philanthropy and Education.
A number of signature projects have been implemented during the East Palo Alto Digital Village's first three years:
The Digital Village's Community Network comprises EPA.net, Technology Access Points (TAPs) and community grants.
Launched in 2002 in partnership with Plugged In, One East Palo Alto and other community organizations, EPA.net is an online resource center that provides East Palo Alto residents and organizations with information about the community and their city government. Public forums on the site facilitate discussion about community life, allowing residents to share ideas with community leaders and explore how technology can solve community issues.
TAPs provide safe, welcoming, easily accessible sites where residents can get practical solutions to everyday problems. Visitors to these sites engage in civic issues and community organizing, learn to use computers and access the Internet, and receive online health and other relevant information.
Through community grants, the East Palo Alto Digital Village has provided technology tools to 30 small nonprofit organizations and programs within the community that previously had limited access to technology. The grants provide them to access the Community Network and help build their capacity to expand and enhance their services to residents.
Belle Haven 1-to-1 e-Learning Project
This landmark project provides notebook PCs for use by more than 400 students in grades 4 through 8 and 45 teachers at Belle Haven School. Intended to revolutionize the way teachers teach and students learn, the program gives disadvantaged students critical computing skills, makes the Internet a cornerstone resource for teaching and learning, and facilitates new relationships between families and teachers. Parents are strongly encouraged to become engaged with their child's learning and use of the computer.
Small Business Development Initiative (SBDI)
Launched in 2001, the SBDI is designed to help small local businesses contribute to the community's economic development. Managing this effort is Start Up, a nonprofit organization that provides training, capital and other assistance to help establish and support locally owned and operated small businesses in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park. Also supporting this effort are the Rainbow/PUSH Silicon Valley Project and the East Palo Alto-Belle Haven Chamber of Commerce.
Since its launch, SBDI has delivered IT and training resources to nearly 70 East Palo Alto licensed small business owners. It also has augmented Start Up's technological infrastructure, significantly improving the organization's capacity to deliver entrepreneurship training, technical assistance and access to capital to hundreds of clients and more than 100 currently operating local small businesses. These efforts have translated into $2.75 million worth of business for the area and 156 full- or part-time jobs.
With planning currently underway, the Community Academy will be a state-of-the-art employment and skills-training facility housing some East Palo Alto Digital Village signature projects and other community stakeholders.
HP has tied other philanthropy programs to the East Palo Alto Digital Village. For example, the Homestretch program placed five high school students in HP summer internships in which they learned about high-tech careers and contributed to marketing programs for HP's Home Products Division. Additionally, the HP Scholars program awarded nine graduating high school seniors with a $40,000 college scholarship package, including cash, HP internships and HP computing equipment.
Committed to e-Inclusion
The East Palo Alto Digital Village is part of a growing global network of communities HP is partnering with as part of its e-inclusion program. The program seeks to provide people access to greater social and economic opportunities by closing the gap between technology-empowered and technology-excluded communities, focusing on sustainability for the communities and HP. Other digital village communities include a Native American tribal area near San Diego; the empowerment zone of East Baltimore, Md.; Dikhatole, South Africa; Kuppam, India, and Mogalakwena, South Africa.
In March 2002, the HP Digital Village program received the prestigious World Information Technology and Services Alliance Excellence Award in the Digital Opportunity category. The award recognized the HP Digital Village program as a model of community service and investment in digital opportunity.
Over the last 20 years, HP has contributed more than $1 billion in cash and equipment to schools, universities, community organizations and other not-for-profit organizations around the world. In 2002, HP's giving worldwide amounted to more than $62 million in cash and equipment.
HP is a leading global provider of products, technologies, solutions and services to consumers and businesses. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. HP completed its acquisition of Compaq Computer Corporation on May 3, 2002. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com.
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