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AOL Foundation Partners With National Congress of American Indians to Accelerate Digital Opportunity in Indian Country

Submitted by: AOL Time Warner, Inc.

Categories: Human Resources & Diversity

Posted: Apr 17, 2000 – 12:00 AM EST


$100,000 Grant Establishes NCAI Digital Divide Task Force

Apr. 17 /CSRwire/ - The AOL Foundation today announced it is developing a partnership with the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to bring digital opportunity to Indian Country and has selected the NCAI to receive the first ever AOL Digital Divide Bridge grant of $100,000. The grant will help establish the National Congress of American Indians Digital Divide Task Force, to provide national leadership for efforts to bridge the Digital Divide among Tribal Nations.
The Task Force - the first initiative developed by tribal leaders for tribes to resolve digital divide issues - will develop a strategy for the formation and deployment of strategic, tribal-based, private-sector partnerships to provide the needed access, education, training, economic development and legal mechanisms to successfully bridge the digital divide in Indian Country.

Indian Country suffers from a general lack of telecommunications and information technology services and infrastructure. As other communities begin to focus on bringing Internet connectivity to their citizens, many American Indians and Alaska Natives have yet to be connected to a basic telephone network. The announcement of the grant award was made in the Indian community of Shiprock, NM, as President Clinton visited there on his New Markets tour to call attention to the importance of creating digital opportunity and the special challenges many remote and technologically underserved communities face.

The AOL Foundation's Digital Divide Bridge Grant program supports projects that help bridge the divide between those who have access to technology and those who do not. Additional digital divide grant winners will be announced later this month. The AOL Foundation, founded by America Online, Inc. in 1997, is dedicated to ensuring that the new medium fulfills its promise to benefit society.

Jim Kimsey, Chairman of the AOL Foundation and AOL co-founder, said: "In the Internet Century, access to technology and the training to make the most of it is not only empowering, it's necessary. We must all work together to make sure that no one is left behind, and ensure that Native Americans receive the full benefits of this new medium quickly. The AOL Foundation is delighted to partner with the NCAI as it builds its Digital Divide Task Force on behalf of Native Americans across the country."

Susan Masten, President of the NCAI said: "The AOL Foundation, in its brief history, has supported numerous worthy programs, and The National Congress of American Indians is honored to be chosen for this significant award and to be the first ever recipient of the AOL Foundation Digital Divide Grant Initiative. We are eager to use the investment to implement and coordinate our efforts to bridge the digital divide in Tribal Communities."

Additionally, America Online earlier today participated in the announcement by the PowerUP youth technology consortium that it will launch 250 sites in the year 2000. AOL is donating 100,000 free accounts - worth over $26 million annually - to the PowerUP initiative.

About the AOL Foundation

The AOL Foundation focuses on taking action to ensure that the benefits promised to society by the Internet Revolution are realized as fully and quickly as possible by all people. The Foundation, founded by America Online, Inc. in 1997, is dedicated to using online technology to enrich society by improving the lives of our families and children and empowering people to help bridge the divide between those who have access to interactive technology and those who do not. Foundation initiatives include the Digital Divide Grant Initiative, the Digital Opportunity Partnership, PowerUP, the Community Education Initiative, the Interactive Education Initiative, the Digital Divide Network, the AOL Employee Civic Involvement Initiative, the AOL Rural Telecommunications Awards, and a pilot school-business partnership in Washington, D.C. called AOL Achievers. The Foundation recently launched Helping.org, a nonprofit, one-stop philanthropy portal where people can sign up to volunteer or make donations to any of 650,000 charities, whether or not they have an online presence. For more information on the AOL Foundation, visit www.aolfoundation.org. AOL keyword: AOL FOUNDATION.

About the National Congress of American Indians

The National Congress of American Indians, founded in 1944, is the oldest, largest and most representative national Indian organization. NCAI serves the needs of a broad membership of Indian and Native governments and organizations.

About America Online

Founded in 1985, America Online, Inc., based in Dulles, Virginia, is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies, and e-commerce services. America Online, Inc. operates: two worldwide Internet services, America Online, with more than 22 million members, and CompuServe, with more than 2.5 million members; several leading Internet brands including ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger and Digital City, Inc.; the Netscape Netcenter and AOL.COM portals; the Netscape Navigator and Communicator browsers; AOL MovieFone, the nation's #1 movie listing guide and ticketing service; and Spinner.com and NullSoft's Winamp, leaders in Internet music. Through its strategic alliance with Sun Microsystems, the company develops and offers easy-to-deploy, end-to-end e-commerce and enterprise solutions for companies operating in the Net Economy.

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