Black woman using a wheelchair, looking at their mobile device.

E4 Youth Selected for The Aspen Institute’s First-ever Digital Equity Accelerator

Where We’ve Been

As the founder of a small Black-led nonprofit,  I realized last summer that the surge in support resulting from the onset of the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd was over. It seems as though a lot of well-meaning folks just ran out of steam. For too many, their words were more of a marketing ploy than an actual mission. Like many BIPOC-led nonprofits, we returned to barely making ends meet each month. The stress of keeping the lights on without losing our souls brought us to the brink. Nevertheless, we continued to focus on our mission to help BIPOC youth skillfully enter the creative economy. We navigated some very difficult challenges and showed each other grace in hopes that our breakthrough moment was still ahead.

Where We Are Now

Now, just one year later, we’re garnering attention from several large foundations. This attention will lead to exponential growth, allowing us to Engage, Empower, Educate and Employ even more BIPOC youth. Among our new major supporters is The Aspen Institute. I’m proud to share that E4 Youth is 1 of the 7 nonprofits selected from across the globe to form the first-ever cohort of The Aspen Institute pilot digital equity accelerator. The Digital Equity Accelerator enables nonprofits to address the challenges of the digital divide at scale. In short, this means we’ll receive much-needed funding to bolster our creative development programs, retain and hire staff, and work with other leaders hoping to bridge the digital divide.

Where We’re Going

Over the next 4 months, we’ll work alongside an array of experts and build on the success of the Austin Digital Heritage Project. We’ll continue growing our coalition of school districts, colleges, employers, government agencies, and sister nonprofits focused on improving the lives BIPOC youth across the Central Texas region. We are thrilled for this opportunity to supercharge our work to accelerate digital equity. Check back here periodically for updates. Feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to get involved or donate to help support the cause.

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