Access to fast, reliable internet service is critical to daily life, a fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced. Yet, in many parts of rural America, lack of broadband infrastructure means that communities face significant barriers to learning, working, and building sustainable local economies in a connected world. Hear from Matt Dunne, the founder and executive director at the Center On Rural Innovation, a nonprofit action tank helping communities plan and build broadband networks that will ensure they can participate in and benefit from the economies of the future.
Matt served 11 years in the Vermont House and Senate, enacting the state’s first broadband grants, brownfields revitalization funding, and downtown redevelopment program. In 1999 Matt was appointed director of AmeriCorps*VISTA under President Clinton, where he led PowerUp, one of the first national efforts to bridge the digital divide, and launched an Entrepreneur Corps to focus on micro-finance in high-need communities.
In 2007, he started Google’s Community Affairs division out of a former bread factory in White River Junction, Vermont, where he led all local US philanthropy and engagement, including the Google Fiber rollout and orchestrating educational and development initiatives in Google’s data center communities across rural America.
Matt has a BA from Brown University, and also held an appointment at the MIT Media Lab. He is a lifelong Vermonter who lives on the 100 acre farm where he was raised.