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