I’ve been thinking a lot about technology, inspired by the recent interview Nathan Bellet (Ed Fund Director of Technology) and I did with Authority Magazine. We spoke with the reporter about how the Ed Fund has used tech to make a positive impact on Oakland public schools so far—and how we’ll use it to continue advancing our mission in the future.
Many of us perceive our computers, phones, and the various tech in our daily lives as complicated (usually when something doesn’t work). But at its core, technology is pretty simple.
It’s literally about making connections.
That’s what the Ed Fund is about, too. We make connections by building relationships with OUSD schools, donors, community-based organizations, and corporate partners. And we make connections through our technology solutions.
We’ve taken a leadership role in this respect—first during the pandemic to close the digital divide in Oakland. We partnered with the City of Oakland, OUSD, TechExchange, and Oakland Promise to create #OaklandUndivided, which provides technological resources for students such as laptops and access to high-speed WiFi—critical to student success in the new world of online learning. We’ve helped connect 97 percent of OUSD students to date—and #OaklandUndivided has become a model for communities around the country.
In addition, we’re solving an educational philanthropy challenge. I mentioned in the interview that California law offers no easy way for individuals to directly donate to public schools. Our technology solves that problem by providing a connection for individuals to make charitable gifts to support OUSD schools and educational organizations—and providing a simple way for principals, teachers, and organizations to access those private grants and donations.
Ultimately, our students benefit from our connections—whether through technology or community relationships. That’s the reason we’ve been here for the past 20 years: to ensure all OUSD students have access to the quality education they deserve, so every student has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.
– Ali Medina, Executive Director