WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 400 corporate, community, political leaders, students and supporters joined One Economy’s founders and employees at the Newseum as the global nonprofit celebrated 10 years of delivering technology and information to underserved communities worldwide. The event included an awards ceremony honoring Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski and the FCC National Broadband Team for its leadership in promoting broadband adoption, and Michigan student Amet Alijahmi, who is using technology to improve her community. Comcast, a long time supporter and partner in One Economy’s mission, was the Title Sponsor of the 10-year Gala.
For the past 10 years, One Economy has developed a successful model for creating economic opportunities for low-income residents through the power of 21st century technology. Since its founding in 2000, One Economy has brought affordable Internet access and its award-winning online tools and programs to more than 19 million people across four continents.
“From our beginnings in the basement of an office building, to where we are today – in 42 states and 16 countries – the people gathered here tonight have been instrumental in fulfilling One Economy’s mission,” said Rey Ramsey, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of One Economy. “One Economy was founded on the idea that when you empower people with access to the right tools and the knowledge of how to use them, they will succeed. We have proved this to be true, again and again, in communities the world over. I am truly grateful to all of our partners, supporters and friends who believed in this idea and helped so many people around the world realize it too.”
The program began with a video retrospective of One Economy’s work directed by Hollywood actor, director and producer Robert Townsend, who also heads up One Economy’s Public Internet Channel (Pic.TV). Following the retrospective, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski gave remarks after receiving the Metcalfe Digital Opportunity Award on behalf of the FCC National Broadband Team for its work in expanding broadband adoption. The award is named for Jane Metcalfe, founder of WIRED magazine and a One Economy Board Member. The award recognizes leadership in the democratization of technology and the Internet.
“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the National Broadband Plan team and the entire FCC. The National Broadband Plan is an ambitious strategy to promote economic opportunity by fostering the most vibrant and innovative broadband ecosystem in the world, and broad access to high-speed Internet by all Americans. I couldn’t be prouder of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, and the dedicated public servants who worked so hard to produce it,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “One Economy understood ten years ago the importance of technology in bringing underserved communities into the economic mainstream. One Economy's tireless work has been invaluable in creating a blueprint for economic change via technology."
One Economy also recognized exceptional youth who are using technology to transform their communities. Dearborn, Michigan resident Amet Alijahmi, a student enrolled in Digital Connectors, One Economy’s technology and mentoring program for youth, received the Lisa Sullivan Horizons Award and a scholarship. The award is named in memory of founding One Economy Board Member, Lisa Y. Sullivan who was a tireless advocate for youth.
Additionally, Comcast, a major sponsor of the Digital Connectors program, gave $2,500 scholarships to four students enrolled in the highly acclaimed youth technology program. To date, more than 3,500 young people from diverse, low-income backgrounds have been trained as One Economy Digital Connectors. These young people have contributed more than 77,000 hours of service to their communities spreading digital literacy.
“We are proud to partner with One Economy to bring broadband access and the Digital Connectors program to communities across the country,” said David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation. “We also salute Comcast Digital Connector and Lisa Y. Sullivan award winner, Amet Aljahmi. Amet’s service in her community is inspirational and serves as a perfect example of how young people are using technology to improve lives.”
At the end of the program, Chairman and Co-founder Rey Ramsey received a surprise when he was awarded the inaugural Ramsey Award for Excellence in Mentorship. After accepting the inaugural award, Ramsey offered a glimpse into One Economy’s future vision and leadership with the introduction of One Economy’s new CEO, Kelley Dunne, a telecom innovator and entrepreneur. Dunne brings more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, including the successful creation of DigitalBridge Communications Corp. and leadership positions at One Point Communications, Verizon and AT&T/Bell Labs. He also served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps as both an enlisted service member and an officer.
“The last 10 years of One Economy have been about outlining the potential of what is possible, and the next 10 will be spent realizing that potential,” said Dunne. “One Economy is better positioned to harness and realize the potential of evolving technologies – domestically and globally – than any other organization in the world. I truly believe we are on the cusp of something incredible, and I thank you all for being here tonight to support us.”
Following the program, attendees participated in an interactive technology exposition. Highlights included One Economy’s live wireless network where Gala attendees could send live messages, which were posted on the Newseum’s four story monitor; live Skype chat with a One Economy editor from Jordan who creates multi-lingual online content for underserved residents in Jordan and One Economy’s We Are Now Connected van, which will travel the country providing mobile technology labs and digital literacy training.
In addition to Title Sponsor Comcast, additional sponsors of the 10-year celebration included Gold level sponsor AT&T, Silver Level Sponsor Wireless Reach and Bronze Level Sponsors, Allstate, Burson-Marseller, Cablevision, Charter, DCI Group, Digitalbridge, Google, LMG, Microsoft, Monster Public Sector and Education, Motorola, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, US Telecom, Walmart, Willkie Farr and Gallgher LLP, and Wilkinson Barker, Knauer LLP.
Additional support was provided by: Ceisier Media and Issue Advocacy, DLA Piper, GolinHarris, Johnson Lambert and Co. LLP, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Palmetto Group, Qwest, Telecommunications Development Fund, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile USA, Inc, and Wiley Rein LLP.
For more information and to view photos and videos from the event, please visit www.one-economy.com/oe10.
About One Economy
One Economy is a global nonprofit organization that uses innovative approaches to deliver the power of technology and information to low-income people. More than 19 million people have used One Economy's online tools and resources, including the Public Internet Channel (www.pic.tv), to build better lives. One Economy has launched on-the-ground programs in 42 U.S. states, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. The Digital Connectors program is One Economy's flagship initiative that delivers 21st century technology training to young people from low-income backgrounds, who then share what they learn within their own communities. To date, more than 3,000 Digital Connectors have delivered more than 77,000 hours of technology focused community service. Learn more at www.one-economy.com.