Founding members of One Economy Corporation today announced the formation of Centri Tech, a social venture mobilizing the full potential of technology to lift the human condition – a concept it calls “digital advancement.”
Washington, D.C.: Founding members of One Economy Corporation today announced the formation of Centri Tech, a social venture mobilizing the full potential of technology to lift the human condition – a concept it calls “digital advancement.”
This “digital advancement” approach intersects real estate, housing, technology, culture and innovation to overcome socio-economic disparities and calls for (1) a widespread technology policy and practice agenda focused on both public and private sectors, (2) a network of like-minded entities from the public sector, technology and corporate industries, philanthropy, as well as the community development and housing sector, and (3) digital innovation practices to leverage new technologies with social purpose. Centri Tech integrates these three strategies into a platform to drive impact for society and the people in it, with a focus on improved health, wealth and environment.
"We are at a moment of historic opportunity. The disruption unleashed by the pandemic, alongside widespread calls for transformative change, have opened the way to new possibilities. Now is the time to fulfill that promise of technology, the promise of a better and more equitable life for all people. We need not limit the boundaries of our creativity to merely the digital divide. Our society is technology-driven and powered by innovation. We can harness these assets for social purpose and reimagine the role of tech to advance digital opportunities that position Americans to thrive in the digital economy," said Rey Ramsey, founder and CEO of Centri Tech.
This effort is not the first time that the team behind Centri Tech has led in this space. The team formerly founded One Economy Corporation (2000 – 2012), an entity that worked in 17 countries with a mission to network affordable housing with broadband and to promote its adoption and use for life-sustaining and life-enhancing actions. Key achievements included:
Executed $51.5M in technology access and adoption programs in coordination with an alliance of civil rights organizations (wiring 27,000 units, training 235,000 people in technology skills).
Collaborated with a variety of corporate entities, including AT&T, Google, eBay, Cisco, Comcast and others on innovative technology impact strategies.
Led the Bring IT Home Campaign, which changed policy and practice in 40+ US states to incentivize broadband adoption in low-income housing development.
Created award-winning public-purpose media content properties accessed by more than 20 million people, including the Public Internet Channel, The Beehive.org, as well as film and web series.
“Rey Ramsey was one of our most innovative partners for many years. With the Broadband Opportunity Coalition, together we brought connectivity and digital tools to the community we care about. To see Rey Ramsey re-enter the marketplace to digitally advance our communities is exciting and important. We look forward to working with Centri Tech on initiatives in workforce, entrepreneurship and more to improve the economic stability and opportunity available in our communities. The work is just beginning, and we’re proud to have Centri Tech in the field.” added National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial.
In the wake of COVID-19, the accelerated digitization of our society has exposed the inequities that result from lack of access to essential resources and tools for communities to achieve social outcomes. Solving these issues requires financial capital, but also human capital – the effort and energy of America’s talent.
In this context, Centri Tech launches with two unique initial efforts:
Centri-Wilco, a national minority-owned systems integration platform focused on implementing social-purpose broadband connectivity and technology use on-premise for housing and mixed-use development (“smart homes, smart buildings, smart communities”).
The Digital Integrators, a work-based learning solution focused on connecting the unemployed and underemployed to the expanding digital economy, will provide hands-on training, deploy systems and property technology integrations, and support broadband adoption.
Jane Metcalfe, cofounder, Wired magazine and founder, NEO.LIFE, supports Centri Tech’s mission and commented, “When I first joined the board of One Economy almost 20 years ago, I thought getting high-speed internet access to everyone would be a done deal by now, because it is an indispensable tool for participating in the 21st century economy and civic life. Clearly there is still work to do to guarantee access in the home. I applaud Centri Tech’s focus on both infrastructure AND content, and their track record in coordinating the public, private, and non-profit sectors for large scale solutions.”
Centri Tech’s initial capacities include:
Smart Technology Integration and Broadband Deployment: working in urban and rural communities with real estate owners, developers, and financiers of affordable housing to equip low-income and other housing with modern technology-specifically broadband infrastructure, access control and Internet of Things (IoT) smart home automation technologies.
Research and Development: development of tools for municipalities and counties to map available digital opportunities in their region and advisory services to design and execute digital advancement strategies.
Program Design and Implementation: technology-enabled, culturally relevant program creation, including the ‘Digital Integrators’ that will provide training, apprenticeship and career placement opportunities for youth and adults.
About Centri Tech: Centri Tech is a Social Venture formed in 2019 to maximize the full potential of technology and broadband to enhance and sustain lives.