With financial support from the New York City-based Markle Foundation, the Children's Partnership, a national advocacy group, has launched a new Web site that delivers online content designed for underserved audiences, including users with limited literacy and non-English speakers.
The site, Contentbank.org, was created to address the severe shortage of online content for low-income communities. The Partnership also released a report, Online Content for Low-Income and Underserved Communities: An Issue Brief (16 pages, PDF), that looks at the extent to which the Internet today includes information and applications that meet the needs of the estimated 50 million Americans who have low incomes, limited literacy or language skills, or other special needs.
The brief, which updates a more comprehensive report, Online Content for Low-Income and Underserved American's: The Digital Divide's New Frontier (52 pages, PDF), shows that the number of community organizations providing Internet access in poor areas is growing rapidly. The Contentbank site is designed to help these community centers, as well as libraries, after-school programs, churches, and other community-based organizations, build local Web content for underserved populations by providing online tools, tutorials, and links to appropriate health, education, housing, and employment resources.
"All Americans should have the chance to benefit from our networked economy and society," said Markle Foundation president Zo� Baird. "We invested in Contentbank.org to begin building critical resources for low-income communities and to encourage corporations and governments to develop content that serves the needs of those communities."