Newsletter | January 2022
Dear ECCF Friends, 

Right now, young women in recovery in Lawrence are using new computers to work on their resumes, search for jobs and move on to a new chapter in their lives. In Haverhill, an increased number of residents are using the internet safely, connecting with faraway family and conducting telehealth appointments with their doctors. And across Essex County, Afghan evacuees are settling into their new lives a little easier by having access to critical online resources, all thanks to the collaborative work of Advancing Digital Equity. 

We are particularly excited to give you this update on our collective progress to close the digital divide in our region because so much of the work that we have done together is coming to life. We are seeing the positive impact it is having on people in our communities. Our cross-sector coalition is growing stronger. And we continue to identify innovative solutions, like the new Telehealth Navigator program, that are breaking down layers of barriers for residents of Essex County. 

It’s been six months since we started this work, and we are proud to report that we are on track to exceed many of the goals we set out to achieve. But there is so much more work to be done to give more residents ACCESS to the internet, reliable EQUIPMENT to get online and digital literacy EDUCATION to successfully navigate the digital world. These things are now just as necessary to everyday life as electricity or clean water. 

Bridging the digital gap for the one in five households here that don’t have a computer, and the 160,000 residents that don’t have access to fixed broadband, is helping to give people equitable opportunities to live happier, healthier more productive lives. We are so grateful to the many people who have supported this work and urge anyone who is interested in learning more about how to help move it forward to reach out to us.

Stratton Lloyd
Executive Vice President & COO
Kate Machet
Director of Strategic Initiatives 
News and Updates from ECCF
Investment Area Update: Access

Like Electricity and Clean Water, Access to the Internet is a basic need.

“Internet access is critical to living everyday life, especially now in a post-pandemic world,” said Stratton Lloyd. 

Investment Area Update: Education

Equipment and Internet Access are Key, but Training Ties it All Together.

“We know that digital literacy and equity is a requirement for thriving in today’s world and in a competitive economy,” said Keith Boucher, co-founder of MakeIt Haverhill.

Investment Area Update: Equipment

Digital Equity Begins - But Doesn't End - With a Reliable Device

“What people don’t understand is that without a computer, they can’t do anything," said Melissa Marrama. "It’s hitting every facet of life.”

Investment Area Update: Ecosystem

More than 80 members of a new Digital Equity Coalition working collaboratively to bridge the digital divide in Essex County met on Dec. 9 to learn about some innovative ways to connect more residents to the Internet.

ECCF Funds a New Telehealth Navigator Program in Essex County

This new Telehealth Navigator Program will increase access to telehealth while also addressing digital equity in under-resourced communities located in Essex County.

Advancing Digital Equity Donor Update

On Jan. 26, ECCF gave an exciting six-month update to more than 70 donors and friends of our Advancing Digital Equity Initiative. You can watch this one-hour recording of the event to find out all the details on what we've accomplished, where we're headed and what we need to get there.

More Digital Equity News
Our view: Technology Gaps must be addressed

The Eagle Tribune is encouraging elected officials to address the widening digital divide.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Changing to Permanent Program

The program, which provides short-term assistance to those who need help paying for internet service and devices, will become permanent and be renamed the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Massachusetts' Digital Divide Reveals Complex Problems and A Simple Solution

The digital divide in Massachusetts has long existed, but these issues were only further emphasized as COVID-19 came along. Regional inequities were exposed - and some regional solutions were found, including ECCF's work in Essex County.

Broadband internet proves a hurdle as telehealth services continue to rise in popularity

But despite the positive feedback from patients, lawmakers and doctors alike are asking the same question: Can you conduct a proper virtual consultation — whether physical or behavioral — when the patient doesn’t have the proper equipment to log onto their appointment?