Digital infrastructure company Equinix is creating a global foundation to fund initiatives that advance digital inclusion in the markets where it operates, backed by a $50 million initial commitment. The foundation will invest in programs that boost access to technology and connectivity to the skills needed to thrive in today’s digitally driven world.
“At Equinix, our purpose is to be the platform where the world comes together, enabling the innovations that enrich our work, life and planet,” said Charles Meyers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Equinix. “The Equinix Foundation is an important vehicle to deliver on our ‘In Service To’ commitment— to one another, our customers, our investors and the communities in which we operate. We are excited that through the Foundation, we’ll also advance our future-first commitment to build a better, more inclusive, more sustainable world, while harnessing and amplifying the passion of our people to help close the digital divide in our communities and beyond.”
Many technology companies have active community engagement programs and support local charities. By creating a foundation, Equinix is going a step further to ensure dedicated support for issues that matter to its employees, and will help develop more equitable access to the benefits of digital technology. It’s also an extension of a company culture that commits to” embedding diversity, inclusion and belonging in all of our business activities” and connecting communities to the full opportunities of a digital world.
Equinix said the company’s employees will play a key role in shaping the Equinix Foundation, helping to identify and support community-driven nonprofits and social enterprises dedicated to closing the digital divide locally and globally.
The Equinix Foundation will work with partners on several fronts to improve digital inclusion, including affordable connectivity, technical career development, digital literacy training and making technology easier and safer to use. Equinix says it is currently partnering with dozens of nonprofit organizations working to bridge the digital divide, including:
- BigHope, a nonprofit in Texas that prepares elementary school youth for opportunities in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).
- CLAP-TECH , a group that collaborates across education and industry partners in Hong Kong to prepare high school students for the future.
- World Pulse , an online social network led by women from more than 227 countries with a mission to lift and unite women’s voices to accelerate their impact for the world.
“With Equinix’s support over the past seven years, we have developed classes that provide women worldwide with technology stipends and training,” said Jensine Larsen, CEO and founder, World Pulse. This has had a huge ripple effect for the global community since one digitally-trained woman can impact thousands of lives. In addition, Equinix employee volunteers play active roles as ‘listeners,’ supporting the women in the World Pulse network. This gives the Equinix employees a real opportunity to learn first-hand from women all over the world and provide support to the community. Just by posting a single comment from one woman can fundamentally change her life and set her on a course of believing in herself.”
“We’re working towards creating a more inclusive opportunity set for young people in communities that are traditionally underserved,” said Oren O’Neal, engineer, retired NFL player, and founder of BigHope. “The robotics and engineering projects that we’re doing in the classroom with students helps to enrich all the other curriculum that they need to be successful people in life. If we can educate and excite our youth at an early age and encourage them to pursue careers in technology, then they can really start to rebuild and revitalize the communities where they live.”
Equinix is making an initial financial commitment of $50 million in funding to the foundation, through contribution of Equinix shares for the Equinix Foundation that allow it to be a self-sustaining foundation. In alignment with guidelines governing private foundations, the Equinix Foundation Board of Directors will determine the Foundation’s annual giving budget each year to cover grant making, employee donation matching, and crisis response donations. The Foundation also intends to make impact investments with interest income earned contributing to Foundation assets while simultaneously supporting social programs.