Last week was a really special one for the Telstra Foundation.

We had the great pleasure of contacting 100 community organisations from right around Australia to tell them that they had won a $10,000 Everyone Connected grant. You can only imagine how delighted they were!

The Telstra Foundation Everyone Connected grants have been incredibly popular. More than 1200 community organizations applied for a grant reflecting the importance of “connection” in people’s lives.

With everything now online – shopping, government services, health records, job applications, books, maps and so on – the consequences of not being connected are so much more profound. Little wonder that the experts now talk of the fundamental link between access to the digital world and socio-economic disadvantage.

At Telstra, we want all Australians – regardless of age, income, location or disability – to enjoy the social and economic benefits of being connected. We want them to have access to the digital world; we want them to have the skills and confidence to go online; and we want them to be safe and protected in doing so. The Everyone Connected grants are one way we can realise these objectives.

Two things that I love about the grants are:

  • First, every grant has been initiated or endorsed by a Telstra employee. This helps create a genuinely personal connection to the local community.
  • Secondly, just how diverse the community organisations are who will receive the grants.  The Mungoorbada Aboriginal Corporation will use the grant to employ a literacy & numeracy trainer to regularly visit remote outstations to familiarise residents and young people with operation of a computer. The Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Sydney will use the grant to work with young people with cerebral palsy and create an online community to increase connectedness, independence and confidence for teenagers with Cerebral Palsy. These are fantastic outcomes.

Happily, due to the overwhelming demand for the Everyone Connected grants we have shortlisted a further 10 community organisations and we are looking to you to decide who should receive the final $10,000 Everyone Connected grant. Please go to the Everyone Connected People’s Choice Grant on Facebook, check out each of the organisations and place your vote! You can vote once a day until 28 September 2012.

A full list of winners can also be found on the Telstra Foundation website.