BDT Broadcast: Advancing Equity Through Broadband Access and Texting

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Dear Friends of BDT, 

Since our founding, we have helped secure more than 800,000 benefit enrollments providing for food, healthcare and other essential needs for families across the country. As we prepare to enter a new year, my colleagues and I are proud to share that we are now taking our nearly 20 years of benefits access experience to help eligible households learn about the Affordable Connectivity Program – and tap into all the potential and necessity of internet access in today’s world. 

For too long, people without financial means have been left behind in the pursuit of better health, educational and employment opportunities. Today, more than 30 million households are eligible for but not receiving at least $30 a month to pay for high-speed internet. Thanks to initial funding from Comcast – and we welcome additional supporters – BDT is launching an initiative to increase participation in the broadband benefit including by helping states develop strategies to increase access to the program. We hope you’ll join in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance equity and the opportunity to help more people today while building better systems for tomorrow. 

With appreciation, 
Trooper Sanders 
CEO 

To learn more about the ACP, visit the Federal Communications Commission website, and visit Education Superhighway to view enrollment progress by city and state. 


Learnings From Our Chatbot, Wyatt, on Applying for College Aid

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Text message reminders, combined with assistance in an accessible format, can have a powerful impact on how college students engage with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), keeping them on track to complete their application and making access to college more equitable. That is the key finding of our third year of delivering Wyatt®, a text message-based chatbot, to high school seniors nationwide. 

In collaboration with the College Board, BDT evaluated student engagement and outcomes to understand how students use Wyatt, their experience with the chatbot, and how it influences FAFSA completion rates. By studying Wyatt’s impact, as well as how students found success through using the chatbot, we can continue to make improvements and continue our work to make college access more streamlined and equitable.

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Artificial Intelligence for Social Impact: 5 Guideposts from Our CEO  

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CEO Trooper Sanders recently gave the keynote address at a summit exploring data science for social impact, hosted by the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. Trooper currently serves on the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee, a body established by the U.S. Congress to advise the President on national AI efforts. Check out an excerpt from his talk, focused on how to think about artificial intelligence, its role in the social impact sector, ways nonprofit organizations can harness it, and considerations for using AI in ways that are equitable.

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Critical Conversations We Joined in 2022


Over the past year, our team participated in many events across the country, focused on advancing health equity and improving access to our nation’s benefit systems. We invite you to watch a short video highlighting some of the places where we helped shape critical conversations and shared our expertise on how to improve access to benefit programs to help families today while building better systems for tomorrow. 


Coming Soon


Stay tuned for news next month about our new Data Sharing Playbook to help government agencies that administer benefits, and other sectors, scope and design successful data sharing projects. 


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