Technology For All (TFA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Houston, Texas created in 1997 in response to the nation’s growing technology gap, especially in lower-income communities. Scott Yeager, a Houston area technology entrepreneur, brought his dream for such an organization to Houston leaders Andrew J. Clark, Will Reed and Jack Trotter and the organization was born.
TFA established its first computer lab in collaboration with the M. D. Anderson YMCA in the spring of 1998. Since then TFA has helped community-based organizations create and develop over 300 Public Computer Centers across the U.S. serving low-income and under-resourced communities. These organizations include community development corporations, YMCAs, social service agencies, faith-based community initiatives, schools, churches and collaborative community initiatives concerned about their neighborhoods.
TFA’s programs today are designed to empower communities through technology training and education, devices and broadband connections to the Internet. For example, TFA has created TFA-Wireless with Rice University which provides free broadband wireless connectivity to the neighborhood of 22,000 persons surrounding TFA’s office in Houston’s East End. This provides an incredible research platform for Rice and a community benefit to the neighborhood.
In 2010, Technology For All and the Austin, Texas-based Austin Free Net (AFN) formed the Texas Connects Coalition (TXC2) to create a collaborative plan of action to provide broadband technology and literacy training to underserved communities across Texas in 17 counties, including rural Texas and San Antonio.
Technology For All received a 3-year, $9.6 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to fund the Texas Connects Coalition program (TXC2). The grant was the largest to a nonprofit in the nation and was matched by private support and in-kind contributions of over $8 million. Through the Texas Connects Coalition TFA was able to provide over 3.7 million hours of basic computer literacy training to over 232,000 persons across Houston, Harris County and 16 other Texas counties.
TFA’s vision is to be the leader of digital inclusion efforts across Texas and continue its work to impact the lives of Texans living in low income, under-served and under-resourced communities.