Connected Dallas Announces First Community Anchor Site, Expanded Website

The site in South Dallas' Innercity Community Development Corp. will provide access to computers, WiFi, one-on-one support, and digital training programs. The Connected Dallas program is supported by philanthropic investments by AT&T, Santander Consumer USA Foundation, and The Dallas Foundation.

The Connected Dallas Digital Ambassador program is making major progress, including an expanded website and the location of its first Community Anchor Site at South Dallas’ Innercity Community Development Corp, Dallas Innovation Alliance announced.

The site will formally open in the early summer 2023.

DIA said that the Connected Dallas mission is to provide a full spectrum of digital touchpoints that meet the community where they are by phone, text, chat, online, or in-person.

“Getting all Dallas residents fully engaged in the opportunities that today’s digital world provides is complex and requires each of us to play a part,” DIA Executive Director Jennifer Sanders said in a statement. “A big component of our program is establishing community locations that can provide in-person access, support and training. ICDC’s 40 years of service make them a natural partner for this critical role, we are thrilled to begin this work alongside them this summer.”

Support for under-connected communities

Founded in 1986, South Dallas Fair Park Innercity Community Development Corp. serves the needs of the South Dallas/Fair Park neighborhoods with programs that focus on homeownership and economic development under the umbrella of holistic community development.

DIA said that Community Anchor Sites will provide hyperlocal and on-the-ground support in under-connected communities.

Via partnerships with community organizations, these sites are equipped with technology and training to provide walk-in services to access computers and WiFi, one-on-one support, and digital skills programs run by local ambassadors.

DIA said that the next round of Community Anchor Site applications will open later this month, and the organization said it expects to open between four to six sites before the end of the year.

Connected Dallas partner CARDboard Project is providing a variety of their workshops and case management services with the program, DIA said.

“Supporting our community’s connection to digitally based services —especially as it relates to homeownership—is a win for ALL,” Billy Lane, executive director, Innercity Community Development Corp., said in a statement. “We applaud the DIA leadership and the partnerships that have made this initiative possible.”

An online resource hub

Connected Dallas also launched a major expansion of its website, which is designed to be an online resource hub that provides comprehensive support for residents, as well as service providers, through centralized resources, training materials and curriculum and navigation to available programs and services.

DIA said the updated website features 12 different digital resource topics, including navigating internet plan access, devices, skills, security, telehealth, finance, job seeking, transportation and more.

It has a chat feature, central events calendar, ways to request ambassadors or training sessions at your organization, and more. This integrated approach ensures community members are aware of, trained, and connected to any service that requires connectivity to improve quality of life and access to opportunity.

The Connected Dallas framework is provided by National Digital Inclusion Alliance.

Supporting inclusive economic development

The DIA was selected by the city of Dallas to manage the Digital Navigators program provided through ARPA funding.

The Connected Dallas program is supported by philanthropic investments by AT&T, Santander Consumer USA Foundation, and the Dallas Foundation. AT&T presented a $1 million grant to the DIA last August for the digital ambassador program.

“The addition of Community Anchor Sites to the Connected Dallas program will help connect Dallasites to digital resources and services, including job applications and online training opportunities, remote education, and tele-health appointments,” Francisco Gallegos, digital inclusion program manager, Dallas Innovation Alliance, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with ICDC to bring these resources to the South Dallas community, and work alongside them in their transformative efforts in the community.”

Founded in 2015, the Dallas Innovation Alliance is dedicated to supporting Dallas’ smart cities strategy, which the DIA defines as a city that lives at the intersection of community, data, and technology to enable resource efficiencies, inclusive economic development, and improve quality of life.

The DIA has built a network of more than three dozen members across sectors, works with more than 100 community organizations, and over 20 departments at the city of Dallas.

DIA’s Smart Cities Living Lab is the fastest-to-market smart cities initiative in the country.

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