“CTN fills the gap between a product like Twitter and the people who we want to enjoy and use it,” says Karl Robillard, Twitter’s head of social impact.
In many ways, Twitter acts as a watering hole for the digital age; it is a space for sharing information, connecting with your community, and staying up to date. Yet, unlike physical gathering spaces, Twitter requires a few extra tools to participate, namely, internet access, a digital device, and the skills to use them. If we want to ensure that the internet is a place of inclusiveness, diversity of experience, and community-building, it’s essential that we help everyone access it — regardless of their age, income level, or primary language.
This is just what CTN and Twitter’s partnership aims to accomplish. As a longtime funder of CTN, Twitter’s social impact arm, Twitter for Good, strives to use the positive power of Twitter to strengthen communities. Its robust initiatives fall into three categories:
- People: By connecting its employees to digital inclusion programs and organizations like CTN, Twitter encourages its people to educate themselves about the community, volunteer their time, and share their knowledge and skills by engaging with the San Francisco community.
- Platform: Leveraging its platform as a force for good, Twitter offers pro bono advertising grants and other products to nonprofits to help them amplify their message. It also helps build capacity for nonprofits by offering free education and training resources for leveraging Twitter.
- Profit: Twitter offers an annual grants program that provides direct funding to nonprofits working on issues like internet safety, digital literacy, and sustainability efforts. In addition, Twitter provides IT donations, event spaces, and a community learning and impact hub.
Over the years, CTN has collaborated with Twitter in all three of these areas. This has generated a mutually beneficial partnership that fulfills our shared goal of creating a more inclusive digital world. As a former board member in CTN’s early days, Karl Robillard is especially attuned to the need for personalized digital literacy training:
By supporting CTN, we’re supporting critical work to expand access to technology and enable free and democratized use of the internet. This is critical for Twitter because we believe the internet should be open and accessible to anyone around the world. CTN is an excellent partner in helping us achieve our mission through its work with seniors and other folks who traditionally have had a harder time accessing digital services.
Since 2015, CTN has served as a core partner for Twitter’s NeighborNest — a community space dedicated to creating new opportunities through technology for San Francisco’s most underserved. Here, we help clients of Compass and Hamilton Families learn critical digital skills to improve their quality of life. Most recently, CTN was awarded a $50,000 grant to support our digital inclusion work across San Francisco and surrounding areas. We have also received multiple nonprofit Ads for Good grants to spread the word about our mission and needs.
“Twitter for Good wants to bring our company and community together as a force for good. When we work with partners like CTN, that is exactly what we do,” Karl reflects. “We have total faith in this investment in this partnership, and we look forward to continuing to work with CTN in the future!”
There’s no question that the internet is essential for fully participating in society — from reducing social isolation to improving health, to accessing social services, to promoting agency and economic opportunity. Twitter’s ongoing support helps CTN provide personalized digital literacy training to the people who need it most. We’re excited to continue empowering individuals with the tools to use technology as we strive for a more open, inclusive digital world!