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Google Fiber is proud to be a member of some of the most vibrant, diverse, and culturally rich communities in America. Last fall, we collaborated with local artists, community partners and art institutions to create thirteen murals in five of our Fiber cities. Each of these new art pieces in Austin, Kansas City, Louisville, Nashville and San Antonio aim to showcase the spirit of the cities we call home. 

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Artists were selected for the project based on their vision and community engagement. We also worked with local business owners to identify the right locations around the city to feature each artist’s work. 

Watch below to see the process unfold, meet the artists and enjoy their beautiful work. Or, check out the murals yourself at the addresses below.




Mural Locations:


Louisville


Nashville


San Antonio


Kansas City


Austin

Posted by Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, Head of Community Impact Strategy


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At Google Fiber, we are all about helping people connect -- to superfast Internet and to the possibilities it presents. In each market, we work to make that connection local and personal, and to and give our Googlers opportunities to give back to their communities. So we were very excited to take part in Giving Week from November 27 through December 1, in conjunction with other Alphabet businesses and spearheaded by Google.org, to benefit nonprofits across the country.


Giving Week is dedicated to raising not only dollars for deserving nonprofits across the country but also awareness for the important work they do and communities that they serve. Over the course of the week, teams across all Google Fiber offices worked together to raise $180,000 to support 20 organizations across 11 cities, including a company match through Google’s gift match program.


The 20 selected nonprofits cover a wide range of issues, including digital inclusion, food security, youth support, health/research, and education. Some organizations are national, while others are locally focused. For each city, Fiber Community Impact Managers helped identify the nonprofits best suited to benefit from this program. In most cases, Google Fiber team members are personally connected to these organizations and invest their time in volunteering and/or serving on board of directors to further their missions.


Tis the time of year to celebrate the incredible work and impact the nonprofit community has in each of our Google Fiber cities. We’re honored to be able to reflect and contribute to their efforts.  We hope you’ll consider joining us, either by giving to one of our partner organizations (listed below) or by finding your own way to give to your community.


Happy Holidays and may your giving bringing you joy.


Included organizations:












Mountain View:










Washington DC:


Posted by Jacob Brace, Danny Cleveland, and Clark Johnston -- the Access Giving Week Team


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The Google Fiber blog is excited to feature a guest blog from a former NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellow -- DEADLINE EXTENDED: applications for next year’s program are now open, due on November 27, 2017.
 “Wait, what exactly is it you do again?” was a frequent question I was asked by my new co-workers during my first weeks as a Digital Inclusion Fellow at Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership (CMHP). CMHP is a broad-based, private, nonprofit housing development and financial corporation organized to expand affordable and well-maintained housing within stable neighborhoods for low and moderate-income families in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. We have dedicated staff who work with people to buy their first home, avoid foreclosure, and move in to affordable housing. A new digital inclusion program at CMHP would be a unique animal, and I figured it would be an exciting challenge to find ways to weave digital inclusion throughout seemingly unrelated existing programs.
As it turns out, digital inclusion seamlessly intersects with many, many factors necessary for a high quality of life and opportunity in our communities -- including housing. As a Fellow, I was able to work with staff to integrate aspects of digital literacy into their work with clients. Whether it be how to search online for affordable housing options, manage a bank account online, or check your credit score before applying for a mortgage. Along the way we also discovered how digital literacy classes can serve as a forum for building a sense of community between neighbors.
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As a Fellow, I worked with a variety of partners to highlight the connection between Internet access and daily life in areas such as health, education, and financial literacy. I created digital literacy curricula and tailored classes to meet the unique needs of the students in the room. This allowed our program participants to work toward their own definition of success. One student was able to learn how to use Facebook to connect with long-lost family members in Somalia. Another participant was just as thrilled to learn how to watch her pastor preach during the live streaming church service. During a “health + digital literacy” class, one student left satisfied when she learned how to share a photo of herself 50 lbs. slimmer. These varying pictures of success were what made being a Fellow such a meaningful experience. I was privileged to both teach and learn from hundreds of students (and volunteers!), and to be there to cheer them on when they reached their personal goals.
Upon completion of the Fellowship year, all questions about how digital inclusion could possibly make sense in our nonprofit housing organization have disappeared. I am fortunate to now be a permanent full-time employee at CMHP as the Community Engagement Specialist, where digital inclusion remains one of my key priorities. Recently, I was able to go back and visit past Computer Basics 101 students. These were residents at Cheshire Chase, one of CMHP’s affordable housing communities where Google Fiber is providing free gigabit internet to all residents and E2D provided each class participant a refurbished laptop. The coalescence of high speed Internet access, devices, and digital literacy training all in one place helped residents make the most of their educational and professional opportunities.. What a difference a year makes -- you can hear firsthand from residents what this program meant to them and their families in this video.
If you are a staff member at an organization interested in helping your community bridge the digital divide, now is your time! NTEN is currently accepting applications for 2018 Digital Inclusion Fellows, funded by Google Fiber and other companies, in cities across the country through November 27, 2017. Apply today!  

Posted by Cache Owens, former Digital Inclusion Fellow and current Community Engagement Specialist, Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, Inc.

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This week, North Carolina students headed back to class, and their teachers were ready for them. Beyond arranging their rooms, hosting open houses and preparing lesson plans, teachers are seeking out the tech resources that will make their classroom an environment that is better able to equip students with 21st century skills.


Thanks to a partnership with the Kenan Fellows Program at North Carolina State University, two elementary school STEM educators spent this summer as interns at the Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham Google Fiber offices, experiencing what it’s like to  work at a tech company and taking new ideas and experiences back to the classroom.


Michelle McElhiney, a 5th grade teacher at Oakhurst STEAM Academy in Charlotte, and Amelia Robinson, 3rd-grade math teacher at Envision Science Academy serving students in Raleigh and Wake Forest, both dedicated their summer to this project.


Their efforts resulted in two extensive STEM-focused projects, featuring new career-connected curricula and "STEAM To-Go" mobile learning labs or kits. The STEAM To-Go labs pair technology resources like Chromebooks, Makey Makeys, and stop-motion animation tools with lesson ideas and online resources for use in public school classrooms. There are two different mobile lab options. Teachers can choose between "Circuitry and Music" and "Animation and Coding." Each kit comes with a teacher’s guide that helps the teacher get up to speed on the technology, offers links to online tools and apps, makes recommendations for how teachers can connect the projects to state-mandated outcomes and "literacy links" so that they can enhance the grade-level goals in their classroom.

These Google Fiber funded kits are available at no cost to elementary and middle school teachers at the STEM and STEAM academies in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools starting in the fall of 2017. STEAM To-Go mobile labs, which include hardware and educator guides, can be borrowed by teachers for one week, allowing educators to integrate them into classroom activities, link them to literacy extensions and align them with grade level standards. The experiences are designed for kids who have little or no coding experience; educators can easily modify the program for students ranging from lower elementary to middle school.
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To launch this project, Google Fiber hosted a back to school reception earlier this month at our Charlotte Google Fiber Space for teachers at STEM elementary and middle schools. More than 60 educators and administrators attended to learn about the STEAM To-Go mobile labs, have fun with hands-on STEM activities and celebrate the start of another school year together.

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Stay tuned for more news about upcoming teacher leadership trainings in Raleigh and Durham.  Let’s start the school year full STEAM ahead!

Posted by Tia Bethea in Raleigh-Durham and Jess George in Charlotte, Google Fiber Community Impact Managers

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Google Fiber’s community partnerships across the country are essential to maximize the potential of superfast Internet in the local communities we serve. These partnerships are the bedrock of Google Fiber’s approach to community impact programming and digital inclusion investments , and we want to share an update on our most recent efforts in our Fiber cities in the Southeast.


Today, in Huntsville, we announced three new community partnerships: first up, Rocket City’s inaugural Community Connection at the Harris Home for Children, a nonprofit organization that has been helping foster children and families in Huntsville since 1954. Kids at the center will now have access to free superfast Internet service in the recreation building where they’ll have an opportunity to discover, create, and dream about where their lives can go.


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And in the coming weeks, we’ll also connect Dr. Richard Showers Community Center and Girls, Inc. of Huntsville to superfast Internet, allowing them to better meet the needs of their constituencies and help them really take off.


Earlier this week, just a few hours north in Nashville, we celebrated the grand opening of a new computer lab with the Northwest Family YMCA in Music City. With 15 new computers, the lab will help local residents further their education and find better jobs, enable kids to communicate with teachers, and provide life enrichment resources for everyone in the area.


Additionally, we’ve partnered with the YMCA of Middle Tennessee to offer programs like Create Your World, which teaches kids how STEM and coding skills can be fun along with educational -- creating music and mini-films using stop motion animation. And we’re also offering programs with the YMCA that teach digital literacy and other online skills at different levels and for all different ages, including adults — everyone needs to be able to navigate the internet safely and to harness its power to reach their full potential.




And finally, in Atlanta, Google Fiber has teamed up with the Centers of Hope, an initiative launched by the City of Atlanta in 2013 to convert unused recreation centers to state-of-the-art learning facilities with both academic and recreational programs. We now have four labs up and running in Adamsville, Rosel Fann, Pittman and SouthBend.


Mayor Kasim Reed helped unveil the first center in May at Adamsville Center of Hope. The labs are equipped with new desktop computers, printers, Chromeboxes, and Google Cardboard, and lined with new furniture, artwork and murals. They’re used by kids for after school programming, including homework, coding classes and Boys & Girls Club activities. Plus, adults and seniors are using the labs and equipment for job search and digital literacy classes.




While the labs aren’t connected to Google Fiber yet, we hope to make them part of our Community Connections program as we bring service to more neighborhoods throughout Atlanta.


Digital inclusion has been central to the mission of Google FIber since our beginnings in Kansas City. As we’ve grown, we’ve learned important lessons from local leaders about how to tackle this issue in more meaningful and impactful ways, customized to the needs of our communities. We are proud to partner with the organizations and residents who are tirelessly working to make the community a better place, and we look for ways to support and amplify the work they do every day. We firmly expect great things from this next generation of innovators, developers, engineers, and entrepreneurs wherever they come from, including Huntsville, Nashville and Atlanta.


Posted by Daynise Joseph and Fabiola Charles Stokes, Community Impact Managers



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From the earliest days of Google Fiber through today, we’ve seen the transformational power of local partnerships and how access to super fast Internet - and all the tools that come with it - can drive progress in communities. From tech hubs and entrepreneurs, to low income families and seniors, those with access and training can leap over the digital divide.

Today, we’re excited to share an in-depth look at findings from our work in the community through our new Community Impact Report. This report looks at how, through collaboration with local partners and nonprofits, some of the communities in need of more internet access have had the opportunity to thrive in an increasingly digital world. The full report, with national and local data can be found here.

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Through a variety of efforts, including programs focused on science, math, engineering and digital literacy, we’ve experienced amazing progress toward digital equity. Together with our local partners, we’ve seen:

  • Over 1 million people reached through the work of Digital Inclusion Fellows
  • 206,000 Children and families served by STEM-focused programs supported by Google Fiber
  • 115,000 Hours of digital literacy training 
  • More than 1,910 Families living in public housing with access to no-cost Gigabit Internet
  • Over 200 Nonprofit partners and community organizations with free Gigabit Internet through our Community Connections program

None of this would be possible without our strong local collaborations with community programs, nonprofits and housing authorities. These community leaders are doing some great work to help bridge the digital divide in their own backyards.

For example, in Austin, together with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) we connected three properties to Internet access at no cost. With that connection, HACA resident Christeen Weir graduated valedictorian of her high school and is now pursuing a biomedical engineering degree at UT-Austin. She credits the HACA and a Google Fiber connection with helping her achieve her dream to become the first person in her family to attend a 4-year college since she used it to help her research projects for school and fill out applications for scholarships.

In Charlotte, we opened up our Fiber Space and worked with local partner DigiBridge to host a Daddy Daughter Code-In. In a twist on the Father Daughter dance, we brought in local dads and daughters together with the purpose of getting more girls involved in STEM. Thirty father-daughter pairs built Lego robots, made binary code necklaces, and learned about 3D printing. Due to the popularity of the event, Google Fiber hosted a follow-up Daddy Daughter Code-In, serving over 100 parents and children over the course of both events.

Looking forward, our community impact work will continue to evolve as our business and technology does, and we’ll continue to focus on supporting high quality Internet and digital literacy programming for those who can benefit the most. With up to a gigabit connection, and local educational support, the possibilities go far beyond the bare minimum. Individuals will be able to get online to finish homework, find jobs, apply for college, and truly get connected.


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Guest post from Ruben Campillo, former Digital Inclusion Fellow, currently the Digital Inclusion Outreach & Community Engagement Manager, Knight School of Communication, Queens University of Charlotte.

The first time I went online was in the fall of 1995. A librarian at the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library taught me to type website addresses into the browser. I was amazed by the infinite scope of information at my fingertips. That day I joined the burgeoning information revolution and the internet became part of my life as a student, professional and father. In all these roles I have witnessed the power of technology to improve people’s lives.

Unfortunately, many people aren’t able to benefit from transformational digital tools and skills. More than 60 million Americans don’t use the internet in the home. In my city, Charlotte, NC, 28% of residents don’t have internet access in the home. These families are put at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job, completing homework and communicating with relatives. I wanted to help address this disparity, so I went back to where it all started for me -- the library.

I have spent the last year working as a Digital Inclusion Fellow at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. The fellowship is a program facilitated by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), in partnership with Google Fiber. This first-ever fellowship to address the digital divide embedded 16 community leaders into local organizations that are working to close the digital divide. Collectively, we helped our host organizations address barriers to widespread internet adoption, such as awareness of the internet’s importance, digital literacy and access to affordable devices.

I became a Digital Inclusion Fellow to help shape how our city embraces new technology, while ensuring that our entire community benefits. Thankfully, I was joined by others across the city who feel the same way. The library was one of the key members in developing the City of Charlotte’s first Digital Inclusion Task Force, along with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Goodwill Industries, the Knight School of Communication and Mecklenburg County. This group of dedicated individuals and organizations is continuing to meet the challenge of making Charlotte a more digitally inclusive city. 

The library, which has 20 branches and serves around 1.1 million people, has already been a steward for digital inclusion for two decades in Charlotte. I joined the library’s leadership team to scale programming, sustainably. We mapped internet adoption in Charlotte and focused our resources on the least connected communities.

We piloted classes in these digitally divided communities, teaching residents basic computing skills. The course we developed, DigitLit101, has several modules, including email and job searching. To support our 1:1 training format, we trained 71 library staffers and dozens of volunteers to become DigitLit101 instructors. We also partnered with community based organizations, such as the YMCA, to help them incorporate DigitLit101 into their programming and scale our impact. Overall, this course has served 183 students in seven library branches in both English and Spanish.

The other Fellows were busy in their cities as well. Collectively, we trained 550 people per month and reached an estimated 1 million people with awareness campaigns about the importance of the Internet.

You can read case studies from my city, Charlotte, as well as Nashville and Austin in the Digital Inclusion Toolkit that launched today. The toolkit highlights some of the successes and challenges Fellows and host organizations have encountered throughout the first year. Additionally, the toolkit includes best practices in volunteer recruitment, classroom logistics, digital literacy, and partnership development. It’s a great resource for organizations looking to join the digital inclusion movement.

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I am passionate about social justice and I believe that access to reliable, affordable internet access at home can have a transformative effect in people's lives. Our first fellowship year was a success, but we have more work to do. Twenty-two new Fellows in 11 cities are taking up this challenge for the coming year. As they begin their work, I’m reminded that joining the information revolution can start with something as simple as teaching someone how to use a web browser at their local library.



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Last year, we introduced the Digital Inclusion Fellowship, and paired fellows with community organizations to help build digital inclusion programs in Google Fiber cities. From leading digital literacy courses to training volunteers, fellows have been hard at work over the past 9 months helping to close the digital divide in their communities. Just last month, Susan Reaves, a fellow at the Nashville Public Library, led computer basics courses for 76 people, and trained 7 volunteers who can now help run courses of their own. We want more fellows like Susan to help people take advantage of the Web.

Today, in partnership with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), we’re opening applications for the second year of the Digital Inclusion Fellowship. 22 fellowship positions are now available in community based organizations across 11 cities, including 3 new cities: Portland, OR, San Antonio, TX, and San Francisco, CA. Much like our ConnectHome commitment and affordable Broadband offering, this fellowship is a long-term investment in the cities we work with. As the lead sponsor, Google Fiber will again contribute more than $1 million to help administer the fellowship. Our current fellows have reached thousands of people lacking Internet access, trained hundreds of volunteers, and received positive feedback from community members. And with the help of NTEN, we hope to continue our progress.

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Applications are now open for 22 fellowship positions in community based organizations across 11 cities, including three new cities: Portland, OR, San Antonio, TX, and San Francisco, CA.

As we expand the fellowship into its second year, we’re sharpening the focus on digital literacy. Participants will work on digital literacy projects, and help to train adults on a variety of computer skills. Some fellows will work on expanding their Hosts’ current digital literacy courses, or building new programs with community partners. In addition to organizations that specialize in digital inclusion, fellows will also be hosted by libraries, adult literacy organizations, and organizations that provide affordable housing. And, like last year, all fellows will attend a week long orientation program, where they’ll be trained on digital literacy best practices and work to develop leadership skills.

To join the growing community of digital inclusion practitioners, apply to the fellowship now through May 13, 2016.



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This Wednesday, I watched families at the West Bluff public housing property sign up for home Internet service. It was a pivotal moment—many of these residents were coming online for the first time, and they were doing so with some of the fastest speeds available. West Bluff is just the first of many properties that will receive free gigabit Internet service through our commitment to serve public housing residents across our Fiber cities. These residents can use their superfast connection to finish homework, apply for jobs, or learn to code, all from home.

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West Bluff residents signing up for free gigabit Internet in Kansas City this week.
With this program, we’re bringing the best service to the families that need it most. But roughly one-third of Americans, many of whom live outside public housing, still don’t have home broadband. That’s why we’re working with partners across our Fiber cities to meet the needs of those families, too—with programs like the Digital Inclusion Fellowship and the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund. We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to closing America’s digital divide, so we’ll continue to tailor our work at the local level to address the unique needs of each community.

More people should have access to fast Internet. This year, we're exploring new ways to make that happen. In addition to bringing free gigabit Internet to select public housing, we’ll introduce a new affordable Internet option in some cities—a low-cost broadband connection that’s fast enough to make video calls and stream HD content. And by offering upload speeds that match download speeds, people will have the opportunity to become web creators and truly make the most of being online.

This plan will be available in the most digitally divided areas we serve, determined using publicly-available data from the U.S. Census, FCC, and other sources. People in these neighborhoods won’t need to fill out applications, apply for eligibility, or pay any construction or installation fee. For those who are looking for more speed (but aren’t quite ready for our Gigabit service), we’ll also trial a new faster option at a lower price across our Fiber cities.

We’re also extending programs like Community Connections to all Fiber metros, providing free gigabit Internet to public places where people can access fast speeds outside the home, such as libraries, community centers, and nonprofits. Finally, we’re experimenting with different technical solutions to hook up residents in various neighborhoods who we previously couldn’t connect. We’ll share updates as those technologies are implemented.

Though our approach may differ city to city, one thing remains consistent: this work is not possible, or effective, without working closely with partners to bring more people online. Huge gratitude to: ConnectHome, Secretary Julian Castro and HUD, EveryoneOn, US Ignite, Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network, the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, the Housing Authority of Kansas City, and many more.

It takes a village to connect a village, and we’re looking forward to even more great programs and partnerships to come. For the latest on our work, check out our new community impact website.


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At Google Fiber, we often talk about how superfast speeds and access to home broadband can move entire communities forward. For low income families, access to the Internet can mean the difference between thriving or falling behind. It can mean more children using computers in after-school programs and STEM classes, more students going online to finish their homework, more people taking advantage of resources like Khan Academy, and more families learning basic computer skills that help them be more connected.

That’s why last year, we partnered with ConnectHome, an initiative by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the White House to accelerate Internet adoption by families with school-age children in public housing. Today, alongside HUD Secretary Julián Castro and local partners, we’re proud to take another step in that commitment by announcing that we’ll be bringing gigabit Internet service to residents in all public housing properties that we connect with Google Fiber. Families in these properties will be able to access some of the fastest speeds, at no cost to the housing authority or to residents.

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Affordable housing residents can sign up for service using a process that makes it easier to bring the Internet home. 
Working side-by-side with the Housing Authority of Kansas City, we’re launching the program today at West Bluff, the first property to receive gigabit Internet as a part of this program. We’ve wired all 100 homes with Fiber, and families can sign up today to access the Internet at up to 1,000 Mbps. And through local ConnectHome partners, such as Connecting for Good and Surplus Exchange, they’ll also be able to purchase discounted devices and learn new computer skills. Across Kansas City, we’re working with local affordable housing providers to connect up to nine properties, reaching more than 1,300 families in the metro area.

A West Bluff resident and her son are among the first to receive gigabit Internet from Google Fiber at no cost. 
Looking forward, we plan to bring gigabit Internet to select affordable housing in all of our Fiber cities. We’re working with local providers to identify which properties we’ll connect across these markets, and we’ll have more to share as we bring Google Fiber to these cities. Finally, inspired by the early success of our work with the Housing Authority for the City of Austin, we’ll be complementing this $0/month Internet service by working with local partners to make new investments in computer labs and digital literacy classes so residents learn the skills they need to get online.

The U.S. has some of the most expensive broadband in the world, while lagging far behind other countries in Internet speeds. And for families in affordable housing, cost can be one of the biggest barriers to getting online. Alongside our ConnectHome partners, we’re proud to make some of the fastest Internet more available and accessible to those who need it most.


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