mohuman advances to the final round of the California Digital Divide Innovation Challenge, winners awarded up to $1 million for the boldest proposals to help California students

by | Sep 9, 2021 | News

In early February of 2021, The California Department of Education announced a $1 million competition to spur innovation that serves California students, educators, and families. This competition is designed to “inspire the public and private sector’s most ambitious innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, and creative problem-solvers.” mohuman believes they meet the moment.

mohuman submitted their proposal to the Department of Education for the California Digital Divide Innovation Challenge in March and was selected to advance to the next round of competitors after a series of monthly competitor check-ins with the judging panel. The final judging and awarding of cash prize(s) to winners are scheduled for September of 2021.


“We are excited to help CA and digitally underserved students everywhere get the high speed internet and digital services they need and deserve. We also applaud the CA Dept. of Education and the philanthropic groups who support this Challenge for taking such a bold, much needed step for the benefit of students, families and educators.”


-Nishal Mohan, PhD, CEO @mohuman


In accordance with guidelines, mohuman is in the process of testing their high-speed community mesh network with digitally underserved students in schools across San Diego to bring free in-home internet and bridge the digital divide. mohuman was inspired to participate after witnessing the disastrous disparities that were compounded and heightened amid virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s no secret that issues like the homework gap and a lack of reliable, affordable connectivity continues to disproportionately affect students of color and low-income students. Over the course of the pandemic, and under the threat of the new delta variant, these systemic inequities have led to learning loss, limited opportunity, and poor conditions that prevent our next generation of leaders from meeting their full potential. mohuman is determined to make a difference, by doing what we do best: doing things differently.

From our unique, scalable 10-step model to achieve digital resilience in all 22 promise zones across the country, to our community first mentality that is For the People by the People, mohuman believes their community driven multisector approach is the template for success and lasting, sustainable impact that leads to community reinvestment, independence, and workforce development.

Other projects recently launched by mohuman include their cutting-edge digital advocate and navigator, moDAT and Project Rise Up, which, like the testing in progress for the Digital Divide Innovation Challenge, is an adaptable-scalable inclusive model to bring digital resilience to communities across California and nationally within the next year.
The California Department of Education teamed up with the Genentech

Foundation, General Motors, and Dr. Gary K. Michelson, Founder and Co-Chair of Michelson Philanthropies and the Michelson 20MM (which just so happens to be one of mohuman’s partners) to fund the award. With over one million students still projected to lack internet connectivity, this large investment could impact Californians for generations to come.

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