White House Names DigitalUndivided Founder Kathryn Finney One Of Its Champions Of Change

August 5, 2013  |  

Kathryn Finney, known as “The Budget Fashionista” and founder/managing director of digitalUNdivided (DID), was selected by the White House as a “Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion,”  a program that honors people connecting youth — particularly people of color and women — with technology. DID is a social enterprise that fights to establish more minority presence on the web and other digital outlets. The name for the organization stems from the term “Digital Divide”, which describes the technology rift between the wealthy and the poor in the same country.

This year’s State of the Union address noted that more graduates should be immersing themselves in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Students in these areas — developers, engineers, and other innovators — will be the “driving force towards making the United States competitive, creative, and innovative,” a White House press release stated. Finney’s work in broadening the participation of underrepresented communities in STEM has caught the eye of President Barack Obama himself.

Sure technology and computing power has become cheaper, which has closed the divide quite a bit. But “we are eager consumers, we are not digital producers,” Major Carter Group said in an article about DID published last year. Minorities are buying, but not creating. The real divide lies in employment between White and Black employees for technology positions.

“Roughly one third of Twitter users are Black, yet less than 1 percent of Twitter employees can say the same,” added the Major Carter Group. This picture is representative of many large digital corporations today. Funding for starting digital businesses among Black and Women are scarce and our “percentage of the general population is not reflected in the number of tech-industry jobs,” it added.

Major rifts like this one has inspired Finney to narrow the gap and hence, come up with digitalUNdivided, to “fundamentally change the digital space by increase the number of urban digital entrepreneurs,” DID says.

“Digital Undivided has reached over 1 million people via impact focused targeted online and offline activities,” according to a press statement about Finney’s White House recognition.

Three years ago, Finney was named the one of the Top Women in Money by AOL with Suze Orman and Maria Shriver. Finney was honored with 10 other digital pioneers to receive the White House Champion of Change designation. Other honorees include Deena Pierott, founder and executive director of iUrban Teen Tech and Developers for Good.

Kathryn Finney (second from left) on a panel discussion, available here.

Click here to see the honorary ceremony.

 

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