December 19, 2019
Year in Review: 2019
2019 marked a defining year for the Foundation.
Our Board of Directors adopted a forward-thinking approach to creating social impact by embracing the wireless industry’s spirit of entrepreneurism and the transformational power of 5G. We defined principles that will guide our work—bold leadership, amplification of innovation, diversity and inclusion and strategic collaboration. We committed to supporting social entrepreneurs using innovative wireless technologies to achieve and scale impact in communities nationwide.
With this blueprint, we introduced a competitive grant program, celebrated the power of wireless for good and formed partnerships to accelerate the work of social entrepreneurs.
Before we head into the new decade, let’s take a look back at some highlights from this year.
Catalyzing Wireless Innovation
Launched in October, Catalyst will award $100K, $50K, and $25K to ambitious social entrepreneurs using wireless technology to improve the health and wellness of Americans. This new leadership initiative was designed to unleash the power of social entrepreneurship to accelerate wireless innovations for social good.
First-round applications closed in early December, and we are currently in the process of reviewing Letters of Intent from organizations using a variety of technologies—including virtual reality, mobile applications, Internet of Things and wearables—to solve a wide range of health and wellness issues.
In 2020, our cross-sector team of expert advisors will help evaluate submissions and select awardees. We are thrilled to be joined by: Vikrum Aiyer, Postmates; Mary Galeti, Tecovas Foundation; Sarah Koch, Case Foundation; Nicol Turner-Lee, Brookings Institute; Nancy Lublin, Crisis Text Line; and Bryan Sivak, Kaiser Permanente Ventures.
I look forward to celebrating our Catalyst finalists next spring!
Accelerating Through Partnerships
This summer, we officially announced our partnership with Fast Forward, a San Francisco-based organization that invests in entrepreneurs who are using technology to create social impact. Fast Forward’s flagship Accelerator program connects tech nonprofits with seed funding, mentors, peer communities and fundraising opportunities. This year I had the chance to serve as a micro-mentor and attend pitch days in New York, Palo Alto and San Francisco. It was inspiring to see the work these entrepreneurs are doing and the ways they are leveraging technology to make a positive impact.
We also formed a partnership with the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute. The Do Good institute provides opportunities for students to immerse themselves in an entrepreneurial community while working to address significant social issues through hands-on learning opportunities. I look forward to serving as a judge at the 2020 Do Good Challenge, the Institute’s social impact prize competition.
Celebrating Wireless For Good
In May, we brought together wireless industry leaders and policymakers for HONORS, a celebration of wireless technology as a force for public good and a recognition of public officials who have helped the industry flourish. This year, we recognized three individuals: FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr accepted the Mobile Life Award, and Senators Cory Gardner and Maggie Hassan each received the Wireless Champion Award. Thank you to our sponsors.
Exploring Mobile Innovations
5G is transforming the possibilities to improve the health and wellness of Americans. In November, we hosted Mobile Health & Wellness Expos at both the FCC and on Capitol Hill, giving policymakers a chance to experience first-hand the benefits of telehealth innovations via live demonstrations and interactive displays.
Giving to Power Innovation
We wrapped up our year with a chance to spread the spirit of the giving season! In mid-December we hosted a ‘Wireless For Good’ lunch for CTIA staff. We pledged $10,000 to Fast Forward’s Accelerator participants, giving each staff member $100 to donate to the nonprofit participant of their choice. Over a festive lunch, we discussed what a tech-nonprofit is and then watched the pitches from Almost Fun, Ample Labs and Coach Me.
As we close 2019, I am grateful for the Foundation’s Board of Directors, supporters and partners. And, as I look to the future, I am excited to see what 2020 and this new decade have in store for CTIA Wireless Foundation. One thing I know for sure is that we will continue to nurture and celebrate wireless for good!