2019 was another busy year for Voqal.
Despite a hard-fought campaign to #SaveEBS by Voqal and many of our allies, the FCC ultimately voted to privatize Educational Broadband Service (EBS), in essence removing the educational benefits of this valuable public resource. In addition, Voqal saw the departure of some great leaders including board member Garlin Gilchrist II, who left to serve as Michigan’s lieutenant governor and consultant Hollis Hope who, after a decade of helping build a successful grantmaking program at Voqal, left to pursue a new and exciting opportunity in France.
Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad news. In fact, Voqal took a number of important strides forward in 2019. The Voqal Fellowship continued to evolve as it welcomed a new cohort of social changemakers with a new and improved curriculum focused on not only providing financial support but also personal and professional support as well. Additionally, Voqal made a concentrated effort to support organizations led by and serving people of color with our grants. Voqal also took the important step of aligning our company culture with our mission of advancing social equity by embarking on a DEI initiative aimed at creating a more diverse and equitable workplace. And while things didn’t go as we had hoped with the EBS rulemaking, Voqal continued to engage with its partners in the telecommunications advocacy space to help advance a number of more equitable telecommunications policies. And of course, we continued our efforts to create a more equitable education system with a new round of Education Opportunity Project grants and investments.
Last but not least, we created our first-ever strategic plan. This plan will guide our work over the next three years and will enable Voqal to more effectively and efficiently achieve our ultimate goal of creating a more socially equitable world.
As 2020 officially gets underway, Voqal is ready to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the new year. Through Mobile Citizen, we will continue our efforts to bridge the digital divide through increased internet access. Through the Education Opportunity Project, we will work tirelessly to lift up the changemakers working to address educational opportunity gaps. Through our grants and fellowships, we will continue to support the individuals and organizations working to empower and engage everyday Americans in the policies directly affecting them. And we will continue to advocate for telecommunications policies like Net Neutrality that ensure America’s airwaves and other communication resources are leveraged for the greater public good.
The call for change is perhaps louder than it has ever been. Fortunately, we’re ready to answer it.