What is #ConnectSTL?
#ConnectSTL was a community campaign that was implemented to gain equitable community feedback from stakeholders on the digital divide and its impact on the St. Louis region.
Working collectively, the St. Louis Community Foundation, the St. Louis Regional Business Council and the Center for Civic Research and Innovation (CCRI) identified key partners and local community members in seeking solutions to close the digital divide to create equitable access to reliable, high speed internet across the region.
A comprehensive community outreach campaign was conducted with a local facilitator and community engagement professional to interview community members, engage key local community organizations, and provide a collaborative framework to ensure that any solutions devised reflect the specific needs of those served and address unique obstacles along the spectrum of connecting target populations.
The information was documented and tracked throughout the entirety of this project. All data was collected and analyzed by CCRI in collaboration with EY and a contracted community engagement professional in order to inform solutions and the implementation process. As with all of the research and data collected as part of this effort, the community engagement data will be made publicly available as part of this project’s commitment to transparency.
Who led the #ConnectSTL effort?
A Steering Committee of local stakeholders and frontline practitioners served as a guide for the #ConnectSTL initiative. Their activities include engaging and listening to community members to better understand the digital divide, and using that input to inform action steps.
Steering Committee members included:
- Tim Arbeiter – Director of Broadband Development – Missouri Department of Economic Development
- Dara Eskridge – Invest STL
- Elizabeth George – St. Louis Community Foundation
- Jacki Langum – Arch City Defenders
- Liz Reeves – St. Louis City Public Library
- Natalie Self – STEM STL / Cortex
- Orlando Sharpe – STEM Consultant / Neighborhood Leadership Academy
- Kristen Sorth – St. Louis County Library
- Austin Walker – Regional Business Council
- Claire Wolf – UM-System / Neighborhood Leadership Academy
- Jessica Wernli – Consultant and Community Engagement Facilitator for the #Connect STL Campaign