February 14, 2003

Delivering on the Promise of Equal Access

By W. Frank Newton
Executive Director
The Beaumont Foundation of America

Dedicated to the principle of digital equity, the Beaumont Foundation of America has joined the ongoing efforts of government agencies, schools, nonprofit communities, businesses and the philanthropic sector to provide universal access for all.

The Foundation’s goal is to provide access to information for everyone, everywhere, anytime by granting brand-new computers to underserved schools, community organizations and individuals.

All equipment donated by the Foundation is equipped with the latest in wireless Internet technology to ensure access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from virtually any location.

From remote rural areas to the most densely populated sectors of our urban cities, the Foundation of America will be used by children, their parents, students of all ages, and individuals who may otherwise not have access to today’s technology and information.

To enhance the effort, the Foundation will partner with national organizations that have a history of addressing society’s needs.

By establishing partnerships, the Foundation will seek to create a collaborative model joining available resources to benefit schools, communities and individuals.

As technology becomes an integral part of our daily lives, it is fundamental that all segments or our population have access to the tools and have the skills necessary to participate fully in this information revolution.

America faces many challenges, international as well as national. Over time, a major national social justice issue is ensuring every member of our society has equal opportunity to access information and resources on the Internet, a challenge the Foundation supports and embraces.

The Beaumont Foundation of America believes new technologies are the essential tools for progress in the 21st century, and that given access to digital information, people will have an equal opportunity to advance socially economically and intellectually.

The Beaumont Foundation of America was established as part of the settlement of a historic $2.1 billion nationwide class action lawsuit.

Three Beaumont, Texas attorneys, Wayne A. Reaud, Gilbert I. Low and Hubert Oxford, appealed to the federal judge to use the $350 million unclaimed funds for public good.

Under this innovative approach, the funds will be applied to provide state-of-the-art technology to underserved schools, communities and individuals in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

The hope is that the unique circumstances under which the Foundation was created will serve as a model for similar settlements and give rise to a new form of philanthropy.

Grants are available for community-based organizations, educational institutions grades Pre-K through 12 and qualifying individuals. Grants are awarded on an ongoing basis.

Applications for 2003 will be accepted beginning January 6 through March 31, 2003. Anticipated notifications of the first round of awards is May 30, 2003.

First round projects are anticipated to run from fall of 2003 through August 2004.

For more information, contact the Beaumont Foundation of America at 866-505-2667 or visit our website at www.bmtfoundation.com.

Frank Newton served as Dean and Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law from 1985 until 2002, when he assumed leadership as Executive Director of the Beaumont Foundation of America.

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