Benton Foundation
Back Home

Diversity Statement

The Benton Foundation is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion both in the U.S. media and at the Foundation. The collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities and talents that our employees invest in their work represents a significant part of not only our culture, but our reputation and the Foundation’s achievement as well.

We embrace and encourage our employees’ differences in age, color, ethnicity, disability, family or marital status, sexual orientation, language, national origin, race, religion, and other characteristics that make each of our employees unique. Our priority is to recruit, retain, and promote individuals without regard to these characteristics, and also because these unique qualities bring value to the Foundation and the people we serve.

Our commitment manifests itself in the development of policies and practices to promote diversity and engage everyone in that pursuit. Toward that end, the Foundation’s diversity initiatives are applicable—but not limited—to our practices and policies that comply with all relevant laws providing equal opportunity in employment for all persons, and prohibiting discrimination or harassment by reason of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law. Our equal employment opportunity policy applies to all aspects of employment with the Foundation, including hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, benefits, training, classification, and referral. The Foundation and its leadership intend to remain focused on achieving the full value of a diverse workforce operating in an inclusive environment where all can excel.

SERVING DIVERSE CONSTITUENCIES

Benton promotes critical goals and values for full participation in and enjoyment of the benefits of 21st century communications technology. Foundation staff advocate for pragmatic government policies that ensure affordable broadband networks are available to all, extending opportunities to those who can benefit most. Our focus is on addressing the communication needs of vulnerable communities including low income Americans, seniors, children, rural populations and Native Americans.

Three values define our work:

  1. Access - Every American, regardless of ethnicity, location and income, must have affordable access to fixed and mobile broadband networks, and the video and voice services that run over them.
  2. Equity – Everyone must have a fair opportunity to tap into the potential of communications tools to improve their lives and communities.
  3. Diversity - Americans must have the ability to both access and create content that reflects the diversity of viewpoints which exist throughout the nation.

Since 2010, the Foundation has worked on Universal Service Fund reform with a specific focus on the Lifeline and E-rate programs, the former targeting low income consumers and the latter schools and libraries serving a variety of populations. We have supported efforts to develop and support important consumer protection policies, particularly in the privacy arena, which help vulnerable communities access, adopt and utilize, broadband and voice services.

One of our major initiatives is exploring collaborations on Broadband Adoption Challenges for Low-Income Elderly.  Benton’s 2012 conference, Getting Seniors Online, highlighted Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) projects serving low-income seniors. This event led to the development of a working relationship with the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) to further explore how best to identify effective practices from the BTOP projects and articulate those practices in the manner most helpful to the FCC as it works to transition the low-income phone subsidy (Lifeline) from supporting voice service to broadband. In addition, we are discussing opportunities to raise awareness about the challenges of getting seniors online with Senior Service America, Inc.