NEWTON, MA | February 5, 2004
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) announced today that the Benton Foundation has provided three years of seed funding to establish the Center for Media & Community at EDC. The $668,000 grant to EDC is the largest in the history of the Benton Foundation and builds on the foundation’s years of pioneering work in demonstrating the value of communications for solving social problems. The center will focus on using information and communication technologies to strengthen both actual and virtual communities and foster lifelong learning.
In addition to the financial investment, senior staff and key programs from the foundation will move to EDC. Benton Foundation President Andrea Taylor will leave the foundation to become a vice president at EDC and will direct the new center. Andy Carvin, senior associate for communications policy at Benton, will also move to the new center, where he will continue to manage the Digital Divide Network.
“EDC and the Benton Foundation have worked closely together to ensure that technology and media are accessible to all communities and used to support learning and human development,” said EDC President Janet Whitla. “The new center, under Andrea Taylor’s leadership, will allow us to build on that collaboration and expand our research, development, and policy work in these areas.”
“The Benton board recognizes that the goals of the new center are ambitious and that the opportunities for the center fulfilling its promise are greatest as a part of EDC,” said Charles Benton, chair of the foundation and a member of EDC’s Board of Trustees.
The Center for Media & Community expands EDC’s large portfolio of work focused on community technology and digital literacy, including the America Connects Consortium, the YouthLearn Initiative, and a series of evaluations and studies on community-based educational technology programs and the federal E-rate program.
“The Center for Media & Community will strive to advance human development through communications by creating new models and promoting best practices to foster more effective virtual and real communities,” said Taylor.
With the transfer of staff and resources to EDC, the Benton Foundation will refocus its energies on an area of longstanding and core interest— ensuring the public benefits from the emerging digital communications environment through its work in media policy and public service media.