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More Than $21M Awarded to Advance Digital Equity Across South Texas

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MHM is working to ensure all people in its service region have access to reliable, affordable broadband service and the skills and opportunities to use thistechnology safely and effectively to support their economic, health and social needs. (AI) Image for illustration purposes
MHM is working to ensure all people in its service region have access to reliable, affordable broadband service and the skills and opportunities to use thistechnology safely and effectively to support their economic, health and social needs. (AI) Image for illustration purposes
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas  – Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. (MHM) is investing more than $21 million over three years to twenty organizations in an effort to advance digital equity and strengthen communities across Texas. The funding will help increase the capacity of community-based organizations and community anchor institutions throughout the region to provide critical digital resources.

While MHM has invested in digital equity before, this investment represents a significant step forward for the organization as it continues a strategic shift towards advancing health equity. MHM is working to ensure all people in its service region have access to reliable, affordable broadband service and the skills and opportunities to use thistechnology safely and effectively to support their economic, health and social needs.

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“At Methodist Healthcare Ministries, we are broadening the definition of health care through invaluable partnerships with vital community-focused agencies across Texas,” said Jaime Wesolowski, President & CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries. “We believe that by investing in advancing digital equity, we are not just helping communities to bridge the digital divide, but are also empowering them to access opportunities, connect with vital resources, and take charge of their well-being. Our commitment to funding digital equity, evidenced by this investment across Texas, is a testament to our belief that everyone deserves the tools and skills to thrive in the digital age.”

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Organizations receiving funds meet one of three key funding opportunities identified by MHM as being critical toimproving digital equity. The three opportunities include: Device Access, Digital Skills, and Public Benefit Adoption. Device Access includes activities as varied as refurbishing devices to developing community spaces that can be used as computer centers/hubs. The Digital Skills funding opportunity looks at hiring and overseeing a Digital Connector Cohort and incorporating them into existing community spaces and programs. Digital Connectors are community technology ambassadors who apply a lens of health and well-being to bringing needed digital services to communities. Finally, Public Benefit Adoption will promote subsidy outreach from ACP (Affordable Connectivity Program), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and Medicaid, just to name a few.

Below is a list of the organizations being funded:

Brownsville Housing Opportunity CorporationBuilding Promise USA
City of MercedesCity of Pharr *
Community Council of South Texas *Community Tech Network
CompudoptEmpower House San Antonio
Family Service*Family Violence Prevention Services Inc. *
Girls Inc. of San Antonio *Goodwill Central Texas
Human-I-TInstitute of Local Self- Reliance
MHP Salud *Mission Road Development Center
People’s Community Clinic *Restore Education *
Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center*South Texas Rural Health Services*

*Indicates current MHM funded partner

The organizations receiving funding are found mostly within four regions being targeted by MHM for this effort, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley, the Mid-Border Region, San Antonio, and Austin. These areas have been identified as having significant digital equity needs and are crucial for MHM’s efforts to bridge the digital divide.

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In addition to the targeted regions, MHM also prioritized eight covered populations identified by the United States Congress as being the most vulnerable to the digital divide, including: aging individuals (age 60+), incarcerated individuals, veterans, persons with disabilities, rural populations, individuals with a language barrier, low-income households and racial and ethnic minorities. These groups often face significant challenges in accessing digital resources. By focusing on these populations and the targeted regions, MHM aims to ensure that its efforts have the greatest impact in narrowing the digital divide and promoting digital inclusion.

Community Tech Network (CTN), a proven digital equity leader, provides an example of how this investment by MHM will enable its funded partners to improve digital equity for communities across Texas. CTN will provide its digitalLIFT capacity building training toolkit to 30 agencies inTravis, Bexar, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, and Caldwell counties as well as MHM grantees. It will also deploy five (5) Digital Navigators to these regions to support in these efforts. Additionally, with MHM’s support, CTN willcomplete development of a LIFT Wellness module, empowering effective digital stewardship in health-related services.

“This impactful partnership will increase the capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) and community anchor institutions in Texas to provide critical digital resources, training services, curriculum and support,” saidSkye N. Downing, Programs and Partnership Director at Community Tech Network. “Our work together will advance individual and community-wide digital equity in Texas, highlighting the roles that digital equity and access play in health care outcomes, as a super determinant of health.”Since inception, Methodist Healthcare Ministries has provided more than $1.5 billion in health care services through its clinicalprograms, and partnerships, and is the largest private funding sources for community health care to low-income families.

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