Posts Tagged :

Educational Advocacy

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Connect to Disconnect at #TBT 3.0!

Dear Friends,

We at Digi-Bridge are excited to announce our third annual #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) event on Thursday, November 2nd from 6-8 p.m. with the theme of “Connect to Disconnect” in an effort to raise awareness about the digital divide. The event will take place at Queen Park Social in South End.

It’s estimated that one third of Charlotte-Mecklenburg scholars do not have access to an internet-connected device at home. This reality requires all of us to consider how we might engage to support their future, because as a community, their future is ours.

We’ll enjoy beverages and light bites in a hip setting straight out of the 1980’s – the era that brought the Internet to life. Digi-Bridge encourages guests to dress for the decade, take part in some good ol’ fashioned conversation and networking, and experience what it’s like to be without access by tendering phones at the door. Don’t worry, you’ll get them back in time for a very special announcement at 7pm!

Tickets are limited so get yours now at

Please contact Zach McRae ( with any questions and follow us on social media for updates at @digibridgeus.

See you at #TBT!


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#CSforAll: Digi-Bridge Goes to the White House

Dear friends,

On Tuesday, Digi-Bridge was honored to join the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to announce our commitment to meeting the President’s call for Computer Science for All (#CSforAll).

As part of our commitment, we are excited to launch #STEAMSaturdays series introducing scholars to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) disciplines in a safe environment at sites throughout Charlotte-Mecklenburg this fall. We will also continue to carry out Daddy-Daugher Code-ins (#DDCodeins) in partnership with Google Fiber.

However, the work of #CSforall requires more committed private-public partnerships to reach the finish line. Particularly in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, where we know that 70,000 children do not have internet access at home, and where economic mobility is ranked 50th out of 50 in major US cities, now is a critical time to support this work.

The US Science and Technology Council inspired us with the challenge that #CSforAll is completely possible. Coding IS the new 21st century literacy.

To make a meaningful difference in the life of a Digi-Bridge scholar, click here to make a gift in support of this critical work. A gift of any size will help provide an educational experience that ultimately opens the door to economic mobility for K-8 scholar.

To reach out with interest in sponsoring a #STEAMSaturdays series, or to underwrite a Daddy-Daughter Code-In (#DDCodein), contact Holly Martin at

To support Digi-Bridge as a volunteer, click here to share your interest with us.

Thank you for your valued support in the work as together we #bridgethedivide!



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Digi-Bridge Announces Commitment at White House Summit

Digi-Bridge is announcing its commitment today at the White House’s Computer Science for All Summit, which event can be viewed via livestream from 1-3 p.m.

The Summit celebrates progress and announces new commitments towards the President’s historic call for Computer Science (CS) for All. Digi-Bridge is dedicated to supporting a generation of well-equipped 21st century learners through the provision of computer science education.

“We believe our approach is effective and measurable,” said Digi-Bridge Founder David Jessup. “We look forward to continuing CS for all through the development of private-public partnerships.”

In January, President Obama issued a historic call to action for public, private and nonprofit organizations to support his efforts to expand computer science education for all American children.

In support of the President’s call to action, Digi-Bridge has developed and will continue efforts to broaden access to its signature educational programming including #STEAMSaturdays and Daddy Daughter Code-Ins introducing K-8 scholars to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) disciplines.

Without dedicated state funding for computer science professional development or K-12 curriculum standards in North Carolina, Digi-Bridge is leading statewide efforts to engage public and private stakeholders to enact solutions, Jessup said.

“This issue hits close to home in North Carolina,” Jessup said. “In our state alone an estimated 17,824 computer science jobs remain unfilled, yet North Carolina produces only 1,224 graduates in this field annually. We are grateful for the recognition of the White House around needed partnership in this important work.”

In continuance of this work, Digi-Bridge will deliver #STEAMSaturdays courses to more than 500 K-8 scholars at eight sites in Charlotte-Mecklenburg in 2016-17. These courses introduce both teachers and students to computer science on Saturday mornings.

“Community partners, including The OrthoCarolina Foundation, will allow Digi-Bridge to extend these experiences free of charge to students living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods,” Jessup noted.

Digi-Bridge has introduced a full-time STEAM Community Catalyst to support the development of a model K-12 computer science program in Title I schools during the academic year. The Catalyst role, through a partnership between the public and private sector, will allow stakeholders to innovatively approach design and delivery of resources and support.

Digi-Bridge additionally will host Daddy Daughter Code-Ins in partnership with Google Fiber introducing school-age girls and their fathers or male role models to coding in a welcoming environment.

The White House Fact Sheet (view here) describes Digi-Bridge’s programming.

Today’s Summit, as part of Back to School Week, will be livestreamed this afternoon from 1-3 p.m. (EST) at: http:/ Follow the digital conversation: #CSforall.

Media Contacts: David Jessup, david@digi-bridge.orgCorri Smith,

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Digi-Bridge Announces $50,000 Gift from OrthoCarolina Foundation

Digi-Bridge is pleased to announce a $50,000 gift from OrthoCarolina Foundation in support of Digi-Bridge’s Full STEAM Ahead programming at Ashley Park PreK-8 in 2016-17.

The OrthoCarolina Foundation gift will allow Digi-Bridge to launch an innovative pilot STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education program at Ashley Park, a federally designated Title I elementary school serving more students in poverty than any other in the district.

“We are so pleased OrthoCarolina is committed to investing in schools like Ashley Park,” said Digi-Bridge Founder David Jessup Jr. “OrthoCarolina is a trusted community leader whose commitment will accelerate the pace at which Ashley Park students advance academically and socially.”

Digi-Bridge’s Full STEAM Ahead is a yearlong initiative that will increase the number of students served through #STEAMSaturdays, its signature science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics courses, while simultaneously testing new, STEAM-centric approaches to teaching and learning.

Under the leadership of Ashley Park Principal Meaghan Loftus, the school continashley parkues to show tremendous gains across all disciplines.

“The provision of opportunity for our scholars who are performing at or above grade-level is a next critical step in our work,” Loftus said. “These scholars can be short-changed in attention and resource, so opportunities like #STEAMSaturdays for eighth grade scientists is critical to the individual and collective success of Ashley Park.”

Full STEAM Ahead, fueled by OrthoCarolina, will allow Digi-Bridge provide 100 Ashley Park PreK-8 scholars with #STEAMSaturdays learning modules, as well as launch a pilot cohort model for a group of eighth graders and provide professional development to select faculty and staff.

“OrthoCarolina is committed to funding educational initiatives and partnering with organizations improving and empowering the infrastructure of the region,” said Blair Primis, vice president of marketing, OrthoCarolina. “A collective approach to providing access and opportunity for Ashley Park students will undoubtedly yield an impressive return.”

Nonprofit organization Digi-Bridge was founded in 2014 with the audacious vision of bridging the technology gap for underserved students and their teachers to ensure students have the skills to succeed in the digital age.

“Digi-Bridge is committed to providing the highest quality enrichment experiences to the K-8 scholars we serve,” Jessup said. “We identified Saturday mornings as a time when programming would be supported, and as a result, we launched our #STEAMSaturdays pilot project in 2015. #STEAMSaturdays offerings have grown rapidly and become the focal point of our efforts due to strong community interest in K-8 computer science education and 21st century skill acquisition.”

Expanding from five locations in its initial year of programming, Digi-Bridge will offer #STEAMSaturdays programming in nine locations in 2016-2017, including cohorts at Allenbrook Elementary, Ashley Park PreK-8, C3 Lab, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, MAX! and Renaissance West Community Initiative.

“Digi-Bridge is grateful for the visionary leadership of community partners such as OrthoCarolina in support of teachers and students,” Jessup said. “Together, we will #bridgethedivide at Ashley Park PreK-8.”

Program inquiries can be directed to David Jessup at

Media inquiries can be directed to Corri Smith at

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#STEAMSaturdays Return to C3 Lab

Dear friends,

#STEAMSaturdays are back at C3 Lab!  Join for a fun morning of exploration and innovation!  Your K-8 scholar will be introduced to a variety of object-oriented computer programming (coding) languages.  The personalized learning platform allows individuals to move at their own pace, making this course valuable for learners of all levels.

Classes are from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and the fee is $50/course. Registration for all five courses is $225 (save $25).

Course dates: Saturdays, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, 8, 15 & 22

“This is perfect opportunity to unlock the inner scientist/engineer in every child,” says Torie Leslie, STEAM Community Catalyst.

For more information or for questions, please contact

To register, click here.

In education,


David Jessup

Girls Code Too: #DDCodein a Hit!

Dear friends,

Google Fiber’s new home by First Ward Park was full of laughter, cotton candy and robots as dads and daughters enjoyed a special night out to explore coding and robotics together at Digi-Bridge’s first Daddy Daughter Code-In Aug. 18.

Digi-Bridge was pleased to present this inaugural community event at Google Fiber’s Charlotte home. This evening, made possible by Fiber, was an opportunity for K-8 girls and their dads, or male role models, to connect and explore technology. Much like a traditional daddy daughter dance, the Code-In was filled with food, music and exciting technology-centric activities.

I’d like to share with you a note we received from a mother after #DDCodein:

“I was so happy to see the event that I sent it to my husband right away, and I’m so glad he signed up. My daughter had a ball last night. My husband said he saw her in her element. She was leading / teaching him when constructing the Lego Scratch activity. He loved seeing her so confident in her own work. That one activity has greatly affected how he feels about her middle/high school education choices.”

We know that although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) jobs. Only one-fifth of computer science degrees in this country are awarded to women. It is
stifling statistics like these that Digi-Bridge intends to shift not only to support women, but also to stimulate technology growth on a universal level.

Digi-Bridge knows that girls code, too, and is supporting and encouraging the next generation of female leaders in STEM. By engaging the community through events like the Code-In, I know that we can bridge the divide. I am grateful that our friends at Fiber prioritize this most important work.

Our first event sold out in under one day and we have already begun a wait list for the next #DDCodein! Stay tuned!



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We Made It!

Dear friends,

The dust has settled and I’m happy to report the first iMakeCLT was a tremendous success!


Over 800 of our neighbors walked through the doors of C3 Lab during the Saturday event.

iMakeCLT, through the tremendous collaboration of makers throughout Charlotte, provided a temporary space for neighbors to meet and children 0-99 to make, break and fix together. Our hope is that the event inspired many future innovators.

This inaugural event was inspired by a placemaking microgrant from Historic South End and powered by UTC Aerospace Systems.

Partners included the amazing folks of C3 Lab, April Marten studios and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Idea Box. Additional support came from 3D Systems, Charlotte Community Toolbank and Lowe’s.

Thank you to our dedicated, amazing volunteers. Without you this amazing community event would not have been possible.

And a big thanks to all our makers!

Additional good news – we raised $491 in support of our #activatesummer campaign. (There’s still time to give. Click here to support.)

The future of #making is bright in Charlotte!



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#STEAMSummer Special Visitor

This week at #STEAMSummer at Kent Academy, scholars were joined by a special guest, Julia Landauer, multiple-championship winning racecar driver.

Landauer, who in addition to racing every season since she was 10, graduated from Stanford University in 2014 with a bachelor of science degree in Science, Technology, and Society.

Scholars presented a range of inquiries to Landauer, including how to pronounce her name (it’s Land-Hour), but one question was particularly poignant.

“Is it lonely being the only girl?” asked Givonne, age 8.File_002

Landauer, one of few women in a male-dominated sport, is the first female NASCAR Track Champion in her division at Motor Mile Speedway. She studied science and technology to help her gain a competitive edge in racing.

She advocates for women in STEM professions, where women are sharply underrepresented. Minority women make up an even smaller segment of these workers.

This week at #STEAMSummer, Givonne is the only girl in her class.

While this is not always the case at summer camp, we know statistically, it’s not far from reality. Women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, but hold less than 25 percent of science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs, despite the fact that these jobs give them a steep advantage in wages.

In response to Givonne’s question, Landauer advised: “If you love it, stick with it. Make friends, and look for similarities, not differences.”

“I’m aware that I’m a role model, especially to women, and I really hope to show that you can be a strong, competent, passionate woman doing something really difficult and that’s something people look up to and admire and respect,” Landauer says in a video on her website.

We are grateful for Landauer’s time and energy in forging a path for those traditionally underrepresented in STEAM professions.

If you would like to join the effort to #bridgethedivide, consider giving to Digi-Bridge’s #ActivateSummer campaign.

With your support, we have extended scholarships to families from throughout Charlotte. Additional contributions will allow us to provide more scholars with access this summer!

Click here to contribute. A gift of any size makes a difference!

Let’s make sure that every scholar has access to high-quality 21st century education.

With gratitude,


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#ActivateSummer for a scholar!

Dear Friends,

Digi-Bridge believes that every learner deserves access to high-quality summer programming.

We are keenly aware that most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Learning loss is an even greater reality for students who do not have access to the internet and summer learning opportunities. An estimated 70,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools scholars are without internet at home.

Our goal is to enable 20 children to attend #STEAMSummer Camp through scholarships.

A gift of any size will make a difference. Even better, each $10 donated is a chance to win a 3D printer, thanks to 3D Systems. What a way to double your giving! The winner can keep the printer or donate it back to a school or nonprofit of their choice.

A $300 scholarship enables one child from a neighborhood of promise to attend #STEAMSummer Camp, where they can explore their innate curiosity for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Digi-Bridge’s #STEAMSummer Camps expose 21st century learners to new skills and combat summer learning loss. All courses, hosted by Kent Academy, are led by certified instructors.

Will you help us #ActivateSummer for our learners who need it most by contributing to our scholarship fund?

Give securely here.

With gratitude,


Donations to Digi-Bridge, a federally recognized 501c3 nonprofit organization, are always tax-deductible.

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Thank You, Charlotte!

Last night, I stood in the spotlight in front of an audience of 800 in the Knight Theater. I had just 3 minutes to pitch the Digi-Bus, a mobile learning lab that will ensure equal digital learning resources for our neighbors.

Sharing the stage, nine other Charlotte nonprofit leaders pitched their best ideas to make our city better as part of the SEED20 class of 2016. Together, we received coaching that will make us better as organizations and better together as part of the nonprofit community in Charlotte.

What an honor. I congratulate the SEED20 winners, including fellow Teach for America alum Ian Joyce of Gen-One who secured the evening’s top award.

SEED20 is an amazing part of what Charlotte is and what it’s becoming. Founded five years ago with the vision to support emerging nonprofits with coaching and funding, this visionary project of Social Venture Partners is transforming the landscape of our city and our community.

Being a part of the SEED20 2016 class is a tremendous honor, and I want to thank the sponsors and coaches for your time and attention to make it possible. Thank you for your investment in emerging Charlotte nonprofits.

We’re poised to #bridgethedivide and mobilize the Digi-Bus with tremendous community support. Thank you for all of you who sat in the audience, tweeted and came to offer hugs and high fives as we strategize to make this a reality for the next generation of learners.

Charlotte, we are better together. All aboard!