Collective Impact in Action:  Center for Digital Equity and Charlotte Area Partners Secure Major Grants in North Carolina 

Residents arrive at St. Lukes Missionary Baptist Church to pick-up their no-cost laptop and receive services from digital navigators.

CHARLOTTE, NC – June 20, 2024 – The Center for Digital Equity (CDE) at Queens University of Charlotte, in collaboration with several Charlotte-based organizations, have collectively secured $4M in funding from the North Carolina Office of Digital Equity and Literacy’s Digital Champions program. CDE has been awarded a $1 million grant, part of a broader $30 million initiative aimed at enhancing digital equity and inclusion efforts across North Carolina. This collaborative effort underscores the strength and unity of Charlotte’s commitment to supporting digital inclusion. 

Bruce Clark, Executive Director of CDE, emphasized the collective nature of this achievement: “This funding is a testament to our local commitment to digital equity and its role in supporting the ability of our people to thrive in the modern world. By providing essential access to digital navigation services, devices, affordable internet, and digital skills training, we are empowering our community. Collaboration is at the heart of this mission, and together, we are dismantling the barriers that hinder access to education, healthcare, and economic prosperity for all. This funding and the aligned initiatives ensure that every resident, especially those in underserved areas, can fully participate and thrive in our modern society, economy, and democracy.” 

In addition to CDE’s $1 million grant, other Charlotte-based organizations have also received significant awards: 

  • Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D) awarded $1.5 million 
  • Camino Community Development Corporation awarded $600,000  
  • City Startup Labs awarded $400,000  
  • Lion Services Inc. awarded $367,374 
  • Caterpillar Ministries awarded $100,000  

These grants will enable CDE and its partners to: 

  • Expand staff by hiring and training additional Digital Navigators to serve more residents, 
  • Led by E2D, further develop a device refurbishment ecosystem across the state to ensure a steady supply of available low-cost devices, 
  • Support the development of programs using digital equity to support returning citizens, 
  • Enhance digital equity services that support the Latino community.  

S.G. Pat Millen, Founder and President of E2D, remarked, “Charlotte has been actively engaged in digital equity for many years. These grants not only recognize our efforts to date but also reflect the State’s confidence in our ability to create economic opportunities through digital tools and training.” 

Nori Maldonado, Workforce Development Coordinator at Camino, adds, “This support empowers our Arriba program to extend our reach and deepen our impact within the communities we serve, fostering greater opportunities for growth and success.” 

Clark concluded, “Our collective goal to radically transform digital equity across North Carolina is bolstered by this significant funding. It lays the groundwork for sustainable outcomes and extensive societal impact.” 

About the Center for Digital Equity (CDE) at Queens University of Charlotte: 

The Center for Digital Equity at Queens University of Charlotte is the backbone organization for a collective impact strategy bringing together residents, public and private sector partners to co-create solutions allowing every resident to thrive in our modern culture. It recognizes that digital equity is necessary for a thriving society, democracy, and economy. Through awareness, partnerships, and action, it aims to empower organizations to deliver digital inclusion resources to the communities they serve. 

About Queens University 

Queens University of Charlotte is located in one of America’s fastest-growing cities, offering an extended classroom to students and a direct pipeline to meaningful careers for graduates. On track to become the national private university of Charlotte, Queens University serves around 2,000 students in undergraduate and masters-level programs across the liberal arts and sciences as well as the professional fields of business, communication, nursing, health, and education. Queens’ unique General Education model teaches students to think critically about some of the world’s biggest problems, beyond the boundaries of what’s expected in a college classroom. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Queens in the top 20 among regional universities in the south in its 2024 edition of Best Colleges. 

For more information, please contact: 

Clare Vivas Lucas, Director, Marketing and Communications 

Center for Digital Equity at Queens University of Charlotte 

(704) 337-2338 Direct