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Connecting California: Solving the Digital Divide, Part Three

Thursday, November 19, 2020
9:00am - 10:30am PST

In August, the Michelson 20MM Foundation launched its Connecting California learning series convening the public, private and philanthropic sectors to strengthen our collective understanding of the history and root causes of the “digital divides” –– the economic and educational gaps created by inequitable access to high-speed internet, computing devices, and digital literacy resources. Connecting California features business leaders, digital equity practitioners, philanthropic investors and policymakers—all speaking to different facets of the complex landscape for building digital equity solutions at national, state and local levels. 

Join Michelson 20MM on November 19th for the next Connecting California event. “Philanthropy Post-COVID: Where Do We Go From Here?” will spotlight philanthropic leaders and the digital equity investments they’ve made pre- and post-pandemic. Hear from grantmakers, public-private liaisons, and venture investors as they share best practices, lessons learned, and how to build back better beyond COVID-19. 



Adrianne B. Furniss
Executive Director, Board Member, and Trustee, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Adrianne B. Furniss is Executive Director, Board Member, and Trustee of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, a private operating foundation with offices in Evanston, Illinois. Since 1981, the Benton Institute has been committed to access, equity, and diversity to fulfill its mission: that everyone in the United States should have equal access to open, affordable, High-Performance Broadband as a means to deliver individual opportunity, strengthen communities, and ensure a thriving democracy.

Currently, Adrianne serves on the Board of Advisors for the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) and as Secretary and Executive Committee member of the Board of Directors for PCs for People.

David Rattray
President & CEO, UNITE-LA

David Rattray is the President & CEO of UNITE-LA. Since 1998, he has led UNITE-LA in ensuring the continuous improvement of effective and aligned cradle-to-career public education and workforce development systems in Los Angeles, resulting in all children and youth having access to a high-quality education.

Previously Rattray spent more than 20 years in the foodservice distribution industry. Rattray serves on the L.A. City Workforce Development Board and Youth Council and was vice chair of the State Workforce Investment Board’s Lifelong Learning Committee. He is also the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Linked Learning Alliance. Rattray earned his M.B.A. from the University of Southern California.

Priyanka Sharma
Co-Director, Digital US World Education, Inc. 

Priyanka Sharma leads innovative projects for World Education, Inc. on college and career readiness, technology integration, digital transformation, and digital skills development. Priyanka co-leads Digital US, a national initiative with a cross-sector approach to design a learn and work ecosystem that fosters digital resilience for all learner workers in the U.S., and also directs the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC), leading projects that emerge from collaboration among the policy-makers, professional developers, and practitioners in the five member states. She is based in Boston, MA. 

Leon Wilson
Chief of Digital Innovation & Chief Information Officer, Cleveland Foundation

Leon Wilson has over 25 years in Information Technology, currently as the Chief of Digital Innovation & Chief Information Officer at the Cleveland Foundation. In this dual role, Leon is part of the executive committee leading the foundation’s Information & Technology Services department, focusing on strategic and transformational use of technology and data within the foundation and the philanthropic sector. Additionally, as Chief of Digital Innovation, Leon oversees the foundation’s Digital Excellence grant-making strategy geared toward “building a stronger, more equitable and inclusive digital community” tackling Cleveland’s digital divide; along with elevating Greater Cleveland’s position as a intelligent / smart city and regional technology innovation hub.


Foundation Partner



Presented by Co-hosts

The Michelson 20MM Foundation

No cost to participate

Who May Attend
Current SCG, NCG, and SDG members

SCG members: Register online
NCG & SDG members: Register online
If you have additional questions regarding these sessions, please contact us at [email protected]

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this activity, please contact our programs team at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.

Funding Issue Area & Geographic Regions
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