FYI Miami: May 20, 2021
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MOST GRADS EVER: St. Thomas University graduated the largest class in its history Friday as more than 700 students received degrees at the university’s Fernandez Family Center for Leadership & Wellness on the Miami Gardens campus. It was the second in-person graduation ceremony at the university since the onset of the coronavirus.
TECH BRIGADES: The Knight Foundation last week announced a new $1 million investment in national nonprofit Code for America, which Knight Director of National Strategy and Technology Innovation Director Lilian Coral called “the preeminent organization that promotes resident-driven government in the digital age.” Knight’s five-year funding commitment brings the organization’s investment in Code for America since 2010 to nearly $10 million, a press note said. Code for America, in turn, will use the funding to help local “Technology Brigade” chapters in Miami, Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Paul and Boulder to strengthen their business models and practices. The new investment, the press note said, “will give local Tech Brigade leaders training to support volunteer engagement, mobilization and retention; increase grassroot fundraising; and experiment with new revenue models.” There are now some 25,000 Code for America volunteers nationwide. The group’s Miami chapter helped create GetYourRefund.org, a free digital tax assistance tool for low-income English and Spanish speakers that in 2020 helped more than 30,000 families get more than $62 million in tax benefits.
TABLET LENDING: To help bridge Miami-Dade’s digital divide, county public libraries this month began lending library cardholders eight-inch Samsung Android tablets with free built-in wireless internet access and Wi-Fi capabilities for work, school and personal internet browsing. The tablets, which come preloaded with several popular apps, including library apps for online learning, e-books, audiobooks, movies, music and social and meeting apps, can be borrowed for up to 30 days per checkout and come with a keyboard case, power adapter and Micro USB cables. “We’ve always known how important it is for everyone in our community to be able to connect digitally, especially during this past year when we’ve all had to find ways to come together through technology,” Miami-Dade Public Libraries Director Ray Baker said. “Now, in addition to using public computers and accessing the internet and Wi-Fi at their local public library, the Tablet Lending Program gives residents the ability to connect to the internet from home or just about anywhere, at any time. All they need is a library card.”