Who is Connect McDowell?

Connect McDowell is a coalition of dedicated volunteers across sectors working to increase connectivity and digital literacy in McDowell County. As of April 8, 2020, Connect McDowell received official 501(c)3 nonprofit status. This community-led group offers a new framework for public-private partnership in rural North Carolina, and brings expertise in the technical, business, fiber, and education sectors.

Connect McDowell is the product of hard work and a long-standing alliance between community members, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, and the McDowell Economic Development Agency, beginning in 2008 when Keith Buchanan convened a group to address the community’s critical need for connectivity. This coalition gathered data, assessed community needs and service gaps, and provided access to a tower that expanded wireless services to the county.

 

In 2019, Keith and Chris Revis co-founded the McDowell Broadband Action Team, which would become Connect McDowell, and began engaging with volunteers from throughout the community to build this collaborative effort.

Our Mission

To improve digital literacy and equitable access to broadband internet in McDowell County through advocacy, collaboration, and education.

 

Our Vision

A connected McDowell County where broadband is considered an essential utility and residents are empowered to use technology to enhance their education, health, employment and overall standard of living.

 

Our Principles and Values

Accessibility

  • We believe that broadband is an essential utility for a healthy community. 

  • Connect McDowell will engage existing providers, encourage the deployment of new technologies, and develop partnerships to ensure equitable access to broadband.  

Advocacy

  • We understand that many of those impacted by the lack of broadband access may not have the capacity to advocate for themselves. 

  • Connect McDowell will advocate for all community members and strive to promote the inclusion of connective technology as a community priority. 

Equity:  

  • We believe that broadband should be available to all residents and businesses. 

  • Connect McDowell will work to ensure that digital equity and digital literacy are an integral part of our community’s long-term strategic plan. 

Transparency

  • We commit to act in the community’s best interest and hold ourselves accountable. 

  • Connect McDowell will operate with full transparency.

Our Board of Directors

Chris Revis              Co-Founder, Board of Directors President

Keith Buchannan     Co-Founder, Board of Directors Vice-President

Madalyn Gaito         MTCC, Board of Directors Secretary

Kim Effler                 McDowell Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors Treasurer

Ashley Boone          MEDA, Board of Directors executive committee member at large

Garrett Berryhill       McDowell County Schools

Brenda Vaughn       McDowell County Commissioners

Lavita Logan           Community Forums

Kim Humphries       Community member at large

Lisa Ellis                 Community member at large

Jason Cochran       City of Marion

Please contact us at info@connectmcdowell.org