From Purpose to Impact: A More Digitally Inclusive Future

Scaling our social impact and launching a new foundation

Bruce Owen
Sujata Narayan
From Purpose to Impact: A More Digitally Inclusive Future

In a world where technology, connectivity and digital skills are vital for living, working and thriving, digital access is a human right—but currently, a significant portion of the global population lacks digital connectivity and skills training. According to the United Nations International Telecommunication Union’s Global Connectivity Report 2022, one-third of humanity (2.9 billion people) remains offline, and many users only enjoy basic connectivity.[1] In response, the UN has declared “universal and meaningful connectivity” to be the new imperative for this decade.

Connectivity has become a basic right associated with education, job access and healthcare outcomes, to name a few. However, insufficient connectivity impacts certain communities disproportionately. Connectivity disparities are found across gender, age, race and nationality, among other differences. And connectivity is not the only area of digital disparity. The digital divide includes inequality in access to computers and other connected devices, STEM education, digital literacy, technology skills and career opportunities—all of which contributes to economic opportunity. These inequities are what motivate Equinix employees’ commitment to digital inclusion—and it’s why the company is launching the new Equinix Foundation with an initial $50 million investment to scale up our impact. This initiative is driven by our dedicated employees, who’ll help shape the Foundation’s vision.

Bridging the digital divide

The Equinix Foundation partners with organizations to advance digital inclusion, from providing access to technology and connectivity to developing the skills required for technology careers.

learn about the Foundation
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Every step of the way, Equinix employees’ passions help define our priorities

Advancing digital inclusion is nothing new to Equinix. As the world’s digital infrastructure company, we know technology enablement is integral to our corporate purpose, and working toward a digitally inclusive future is core to the Equinix Future First sustainability strategy. This strategy is about rallying our people and partners to dream of a better future and then do what it takes to make it happen. For years, Equinix employees have embodied this commitment, enthusiastically driving our social sustainability strategy to connect more people with the opportunities of a digital world and give back to the communities where we do business.

Equinix has been fostering relationships with local and global nonprofits that champion related causes through the Equinix Community Impact program ever since its launch in 2015. From the program’s start, we’ve issued grants to organizations focused on digital inclusion like NetHope and World Pulse, and digital inclusion has remained a foundational philanthropic commitment for Equinix employees to this day. We’re constantly amazed by our high—and ever-increasing—levels of employee engagement in the Impact program. Their passions and priorities have defined its vision and will likewise shape the direction of Equinix Foundation as we work toward greater digital inclusion globally. Through the Equinix Community Impact program, last year our employees contributed to the more than $2 million in donations, corporate matching and grants, and spent over 16,500 volunteer hours to approximately 2,200 nonprofits worldwide.

Picture collage of different events hosted by the Equinix Community Impact program

The Community Impact program culminates in Equinix Impact Month every October, during which employees join together to serve their communities for a focused month of volunteer and fundraising efforts. Last year, we saw a record-breaking 34% increase in employee participation in Impact Month year over year, and this October, as Impact Month enters its 8th consecutive year, we expect even higher employee involvement, with digital inclusion serving as a theme for employees to rally around.

Here are a few examples of how our employees demonstrate their commitment to digital inclusion through the Community Impact program and Impact Month:

  • Collaboration and mentorship with World Pulse—an independent, women-led global social network for social change—to train women with digital skills
  • Volunteering with students involved with CLAP-TECH in Hong Kong, a nonprofit that prepares high-school students for the future with “new-collar” career training
  • Working with the Texas nonprofit Big Hope to help prepare elementary school youth for opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art and math
  • An employee fellowship and alliance with CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™ to help advance policy change around racial equity and build a diverse, inclusive culture
  • Partnership with Northern Virginia Community College and the NOVA Foundation to establish the Equinix Digital Infrastructure Scholarship
One-third of humanity (2.9 billion people) remains offline, and many users only enjoy basic connectivity.”

Equinix employees lead the way in identifying change makers that are already working to address equitable and inclusive access to technology, connectivity and education. Through this work—which will be furthered by the investment from Equinix Foundation—we’re helping close the digital divide and harnessing the power of technology for a more accessible, equitable and sustainable future.

Connectivity across digital and social ecosystems

The Equinix name reflects our focus on “EQUality, Neutrality and Internet eXchange.” Our corporate purpose is to be the platform where the world comes together, enabling the innovations that enrich our work, life and planet. The same values that underpin the company’s role in the digital ecosystem—facilitating interconnected partner ecosystems—form the basis for the Equinix Community Impact program and the Equinix Foundation vision. We know that no organization can address the digital divide alone and helping to create connectivity among partner organizations with shared goals enables us to generate more significant transformation together.

Equinix Impact Month demonstrates the power of interconnection and community and is driven by the grassroots work of Equinix employees who are constantly inspiring and mobilizing others to do good work. This year, we have an incredible list of activities planned for Impact Month, with opportunities for employees to volunteer, donate and spread awareness. Focus areas, in addition to digital inclusion, will encompass a wide range of social and environmental causes—from sustainable cities to physical and mental health to gender equity to affordable housing and much more.

A Future First legacy in the making

We can’t wait to see the many ways that Equinix Foundation will help us truly scale our positive impact on digital inclusion for years to come. We also know that this is still all a learning process, and we’re inviting employees, customers, partners and the communities where we operate to collaborate with us, join the conversation and help contribute to the collective vision of a more equitable, accessible and sustainable future for all. Globally, we still have a long way to go, and we’re excited to do our part as facilitators in creating a more digitally inclusive world.

Visit the Equinix Foundation page to learn more about the Foundation’s purpose and priorities. And to find out more about our Future First sustainability strategy, check out the Equinix Sustainability page.

 

[1] International Telecommunication Union, United Nations, Global Connectivity Report 2022.

 

We’re helping close the digital divide and harnessing the power of technology for a more accessible, equitable and sustainable future.”
Bruce Owen
Bruce Owen Vice President, Employee and Community Impact
Sujata Narayan
Sujata Narayan Director, Community Impact
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