Q&A WITH BLACKSTONE, A NEW MIAMI CONNECTED PARTNER

Miami Connected is a public-private partnership, led by The Miami Foundation and Achieve Miami, which seeks to make Miami the most technologically inclusive community in the nation by bridging the digital divide and providing educational and economic development opportunities for all residents of Greater Miami. This collective impact initiative brings together community, philanthropic, business, and government leaders to ensure universal access to broadband internet, invest in digital literacy, and create pipelines into the technology workforce for historically under-represented groups. Launched in Overtown, it will expand to several other neighborhoods in the near future. 

Miami Connected is thrilled to announce that the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is the latest supporter of the effort to bring free broadband internet connectivity, digital literacy, and career opportunities in technology to more than 100,000 students and their families in Miami-Dade County. We spoke with John Stecher, Senior Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer at Blackstone, to share more about this incredible investment. 

TMF: Welcome to Miami! We are thrilled to have you as our neighbor in downtown Miami. We know you have ambitious expansion plans and a big part of those plans includes investing in programs that enhance entrepreneurial ecosystems and encourage employee engagement. We’d love to know more about your plans to get involved in the local community.  

Blackstone: It has been an amazing journey growing our technology team in Miami, and we are excited to continue building our presence in the local community. We have a long tradition of serving the communities where we work and live. Through our employee engagement and targeted grantmaking, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation supports high-impact, nonprofit organizations. 

We are passionate about investing in programs and developing long-term partnerships with organizations that have an emphasis on increasing equity in K-12 education, supporting a “healthy environment,” and creating employee engagement opportunities that will allow our Blackstone colleagues to leverage their talent and expertise to make a positive impact through community service, volunteer projects, mentoring, and nonprofit board service.  

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s efforts in Miami are focused on supporting organizations that create access to STEM education for underrepresented youth from diverse backgrounds, enable access to technology, provide critical tools to underrepresented neighborhoods to enhance digital literacy, and expand talent pipelines for populations in Miami and Greater Florida. We are also driving employee engagement opportunities that are focused on community efforts related to protecting and preserving South Florida’s watershed and coastal areas. 

TMF: We so appreciate that at the top of your list as you settle in Miami is investing in the local community. And we are ecstatic that one of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s first investments is in Miami Connected! Tell us what about Miami Connected drew you in.

Blackstone: Our technology team is passionate about philanthropy, giving back to the community, and creating talent pipelines to expose underrepresented groups to technology careers, which aligns well with Miami Connected’s mission to make Greater Miami one of the most technologically inclusive communities in the nation. We were especially drawn to this initiative as it creates an incredible opportunity for public and private communities to come together and collectively make an impact.  

This partnership will allow us to collaborate with key stakeholders and community members to increase equity and diversity in education and technology careers, and to create pathways into the technology workforce for individuals who come from nontraditional backgrounds.

TMF: We want to thank you again for being a partner in this effort. We look forward to finding ways to engage your new Miami employees and ensuring that you feel right at home in Miami. At The Miami Foundation, we aim to build a strong philanthropic backbone for our community, and we love seeing corporate champions getting involved in such a meaningful way. Watching Blackstone, such a well-respected company, making a fast statement and being already involved in philanthropy is exactly what we hope for Miami, and we applaud you and hope you have a very successful launch here in Miami.

 

Image: Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation

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