AT&T Awards $1 Million AT&T AccessAll Grant to Community Technology Centers’ Network to Provide Technology Resources for People with Disabilities
Program is Component of Three-Year $100 Million AT&T Accessall Initiative to Provide Technology Access to Underserved Communities Nationwide
San Antonio, Texas, July 31, 2006, The AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., today announced a $1 million grant to the Community Technology Centers’ Network (CTCNet) to provide new technology resources for people with all types of disabilities, including learning disabilities. In collaboration with the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA), CTCNet will upgrade technology services and equipment to benefit people with disabilities at community technology centers nationwide.
As part of the three-year $100 million AT&T AccessAll initiative to provide technology access to underserved communities, the AT&T Foundation grant will fund training for community technology center staff on universal design and assistive technology to create stronger community learning environments that can accommodate multiple learning styles and abilities. Additionally, the grant will fund the purchase of assistive technology devices, which help users build skills and use technology to overcome challenges. CTCNet will make AT&T grant funds available to regional centers though a competitive application process.
“This AT&T AccessAll grant extends CTCNet’s long-standing track record of building best practices in CTC operations,” said Kavita Singh, executive director of CTCNet. “It will enable CTCNet to work with our member centers to demonstrate standards in universal design for space, learning, hardware and software. Assistive technology is not just beneficial for people with disabilities but has been proved to improve the technology-training experience for all, ensuring success in today’s economy.”
The AT&T contribution is the largest grant to CTCNet to provide tools and resources to Community Technology Centers to increase accessibility and to benefit people of varying physical, cognitive and learning abilities. This grant will employ the best practices developed by CTCNet and ATA over the past few years to ensure that CTCs are able to serve everyone, including the 20 percent of the U.S. population that has disabilities and very few opportunities for technology training.
“Technology is the gateway to jobs, education and information in the 21st century,” said Laura Sanford, president of the AT&T Foundation. “This collaboration between CTCNet and ATA will help ensure that Americans with physical or learning disabilities become familiar with and have access to assistive technologies in order to build skills that can improve their lives.”
The grant will fund 12 Accessibility Institutes throughout the country, which will provide training to technology center staff on supporting and serving clients with disabilities. Accessibility Institutes are seminars designed to build knowledge of universal design, assistive technology and methods of incorporating these technologies into center operations to better serve people with disabilities. To encourage participation in the Accessibility Institutes, CTCNet will award $1,000 minigrants to 24 attending organizations. Organizations participating in the Accessibility Institutes will be eligible to apply subsequently for subgrants of up to $20,000, which will be given to 14 CTCs throughout the country.
Furthermore, the grant will enable CTCNet to develop technology tools and resources aimed at serving people with a broad range of disabilities. Hardware and software applications, such as alternative keyboards and voice-recognition software, will be complemented by training on computer and Internet use, curriculum development and software-based self-assessment tools.
According to Mary Lester, the executive director of Alliance for Technology Access (ATA), the use of technology can transform lives. For example, people without sight can instruct a computer to read aloud any text of their choice. Someone with carpal tunnel syndrome can continue to use a computer by talking to it. A student struggling with reading can have words highlighted on the screen, read out loud, looked up in an online dictionary and translated into another language. In addition, someone who is deaf can freely communicate using instant messaging.
“Lack of information about what technology exists and how to use it is still the primary barrier preventing people with disabilities from accessing the technology that can dramatically improve their quality of life and economic status,” said Lester. “By collaborating with CTCNet and connecting our networks of community centers, we can reach a greater percentage of people with disabilities in underserved communities who need technology information and training.”
“This new program is a significant step forward for people with disabilities,” said Kathy Martinez, executive director of the World Institute on Disabilities. “They will be able to use the services of the community technology centers in their communities and neighborhoods along with their friends and family. CTCNet is expanding its definition of diverse communities to include people with disabilities in its overall strategies. That is a great step forward for all of us.”
The grant to CTCNet is part of the AT&T AccessAll signature philanthropic initiative, a landmark three-year $100 million program that connects families and communities with technology tools that can improve lives. The program builds on the AT&T Foundation’s existing investment in technology for the underserved, which totals nearly $83 million.
The AT&T Foundation is committed to supporting diverse underserved populations, such as youth, senior citizens, women, low-income people and people with disabilities. Since 2000, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have distributed more than $114 million to programs and initiatives that enhance education, support community vitality, and help meet the critical needs of underserved and diverse communities.
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About the AT&T Foundation
The new AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., supports programs that build communities and improve access to information technologies, technology training and professional skills development. The new AT&T Foundation will provide more than $60 million in 2006 in charitable contributions, thereby placing it among the top five largest corporate foundations in the country. The new AT&T Foundation combines more than 40 years and $1.7 billion of philanthropic commitment to communities across the country.
AT&T Inc. is one of the world’s largest telecommunications holding companies and is the largest in the United States. Operating globally under the AT&T brand, AT&T companies are recognized as the leading worldwide providers of IP-based communications services to business and as leading U.S. providers of high speed DSL Internet, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. AT&T Inc. holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which is the No. 1 U.S. wireless services provider with 57.3 million wireless customers. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and AT&T products and services is available at www.att.com.
About Community Technology Centers’ Network (CTCNet)
The Community Technology Centers’ Network (CTCNet) is a national membership network of community technology centers CTCs) and other non-profits, united in their commitment to provide technology access and education to underserved communities. CTCNet works through the CTC Network to provide resources and advocacy to improve the quality and sustainability of CTCs.
About Alliance for Technology Access (ATA)
The Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) is the national network of community-based Assistive Technology Resource Centers, technology developers, community-based organizations and individuals dedicated to providing information and support services to children and adults with disabilities, and increasing their use of standard, assistive, communication and information technologies.
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