Community Impact

Chromebooks Distributed as Part of the Digital Equity Initiative

March 5th, 2021 | 3 min read

Newsroom January Chromebook Distribution

The first week of March, over 20 CareSource employees from the IT department assisted Cincinnati Bell and Greater Dayton Premier Management in distributing free Chromebooks to 200 residents in the Dayton area. This community outreach initiative follows a similar event in January where more than 60 CareSource volunteers helped with registration and IT support for over 400 individuals and families.

“I’m so proud of the members of my team who chose to donate their time and expertise this year,” said Devon Valencia, Chief Information Officer at CareSource. “It speaks to the quality and caliber of our employees to see their commitment to the CareSource mission in action.”

The distribution of these Chromebooks will ensure more people have access to education, healthcare, and employment. This program will help individuals who suffer the consequences of what is commonly referred to as the “digital divide.”

A recent Modern Healthcare article describes the digital divide as the newest social determinant of health, critical for improved health outcomes. Steven Ross Johnson writes: “The tens of millions of Americans who do not have access to high-speed, broadband internet services feed a digital divide hindering telehealth’s potential to become a more convenient, cost-effective and equitable pathway to care.”

“Digital Equity ultimately comes down to providing universal access and opportunity through connectivity, regardless of one’s socioeconomic status,” said Tom Simpson, Chief Operating Officer of Cincinnati Bell. “Education, jobs, and healthcare are the great equalizers in our society. It’s critical that organizations work together to improve digital equity so that more of our friends and neighbors will have access to educational tools, job opportunities, and health-care resources.”

Announced in 2020, the roughly $2 million Dayton-Montgomery County Digital Equity Initiative is seeking to change that in Dayton. The program specifically aims to bring high-speed Wi-Fi to more than 1,000 residents living in five Greater Dayton Premier Management housing communities: Desoto Bass, Park Manor, Wilkinson Plaza, Westdale Terrace, and Fitch and Hawthorn. Greater Dayton Premier Management provides decent, safe, affordable housing to Montgomery County residents who would not be able to afford suitable housing otherwise. The average income of Greater Dayton Premier Management residents is $12,000 a year and that 36% have school-aged children.

“Access to Wi-fi will impact how our residents work, learn, interact and gain access to vital services,” said Jennifer Heapy, Chief Executive Officer at Greater Dayton Premier Management. “For communities disproportionally hit by the pandemic, the lack of access to this imperative service has compounded historical and ongoing racial and socioeconomic structural inequities. We are thrilled to be a participant in this long-term effort to reduce barriers and provide our residents with what we all want, opportunity, regardless of zip code.”

In addition to sending highly qualified volunteers, CareSource committed $400,000 to support the long-term sustainability of the project.

“Addressing the Digital Divide will deliver the internet connectivity and hardware that is critical to access jobs, educational opportunities, and health-care resources,” said Dan McCabe, Chief Administrative Officer at CareSource and the CEO of the CareSource Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Montgomery County, Greater Dayton Premier Management, Cincinnati Bell Inc. and many other wonderful Dayton-based organizations on this project.”