Mozilla Has Landed in Eugene, Oregon

When we designated Lafayette, Louisiana & Eugene, Oregon as our two newest Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund cities, we had one question in mind: how can we help these communities leverage their high-speed fiber networks and inventive entrepreneurial spirit for the good of education and workforce development?

To answer this question, we will be holding a Mozilla Open House on Thursday, June 22nd, 9–11 a.m. PDT at the Ford Alumni Center in the Lee Barlow Giustina Ballroom. Come meet local innovators, educators, entrepreneurs, students, and community advocates to learn about what it means to be a Mozilla Gigabit City.

In an effort to build technologies that support a healthy Internet, Mozilla will be providing grant funding to support pilot tests of gigabit technologies such as virtual reality, 4K video, artificial intelligence, and their related curricula. The technologies should address education and/or workforce development opportunities. (Examples of previously funded projects can be found here.) We are looking for diverse ideas and will fund impactful, inspiring, and exciting projects to continue to make the “Silicon Shire” a shining beacon of collaborative community success on the West Coast.

Learn more about the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund.

Why Eugene?

Home to an extensive portfolio of innovative companies in the Silicon Shire, Eugene offers a rapidly expanding high-speed fiber network, strong community support, and existing technological tools and infrastructure to advance education and workforce development.

Eugene is changing: This brings optimism for some residents, and uncertainty for others. For residents who are hesitant or have strong opinions — jump on board, join the discussion, and come see what we’re up to. In order to make representative change, we need as many different voices at the table as possible.

Eugene cares: Eugene has a long history of entrepreneurship, environmental advocacy, vibrant and livable communities, and social justice. But, like any city, Eugene is not without its issues. One of the most visible is homelessness and lack of affordable housing (53% of our students are currently living in poverty). Rather than ignoring these pressing issues, Eugene is tackling them head-on. We continue to have great opportunities to work together to find innovative solutions to old problems.

Fiber being laid in downtown Eugene.

Eugene innovates: Thanks to EugNet and other local partners, Eugene 4J School District, 32 schools in total, are all connected to a publicly owned fiber network. Research and innovation between local high schools and the University of Oregon is on tap and rapidly expanding downtown fiber infrastructure is incentivizing entrepreneurship. There are dozens of untapped resources as well, such as the 50-million-pixel PSC Visualization Lab screen at the Allan Price Science Commons & Research Library at the University of Oregon, remote access to usage of the Titan $5 million 3D microscope at Lorry I. Lokey Laboratories, and the expansion of Career Technical Education (CTE) classes including technology-related field trips and computer science training for both educators and students.

Month One: Passionate Eugenians

We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of excitement about utilizing Mozilla’s partnership to make Eugene a more innovative, equitable, and inspiring community. It’s gratifying to see local planning aligning so closely to the initiatives and goals of Mozilla’s national Gigabit work. Just last month, the philanthropic hackathon Hack for a Cause took place and brought many social issues to light, along with potential technological solutionsideations about how to solve social issues with modern technological tools. This groundwork is a perfect example of the creativity we hope to promote and fund here in Eugene.

We look forward to coming alongside the many amazing organizations and individuals who are already working on formal and informal education issues. These partnerships will not only increase capacity, but will also broaden the community working on solutions and bringing diverse ideas to the table. We also look forward to finding projects that create cross-country partnerships with the other Mozilla Gigabit cities: Austin, Chattanooga, Lafayette (LA), and Kansas City.

Special thanks to Technology Association of Oregon for their initial, and continued, support of the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund as well as Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis and Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg of Springfield. Also thanks to the 21 other organizations who helped secure the selection of Eugene as a Mozilla Gigabit City, and the growing number of community partners who continue to get involved.

Mozilla wants to be a small catalyst to this era of innovation — we look forward to your ideas Eugene!

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Stay Involved

  • Follow Gigabit Community Fund news on Twitter.
  • Contact local Eugene Portfolio Manager Craig Wiroll.
  • Attend the June 22, 2017 “Mozilla Open House”.
  • Listen to the “Talk Tech to Me” podcast with the Technology Association of Oregon’s President and CEO, Skip Newberry and Mozilla’s Gigabit Fund Manager, Jenn Beard for more information about the announcement of Eugene as a Mozilla Gigabit city.

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