Vice president of community impact, Crane Group
About: Elon Simms leads the philanthropic efforts of one of the city’s most civically engaged companies as vice president of community impact for Crane Group. He also serves as an adviser or board member for several organizations, and as a social worker, he serves as a lecturer for Ohio State University’s College of Social Work. He was previously director of community affairs for the city of Columbus; director of field education for the OSU College of Social Work; and a child welfare caseworker for Franklin County Children Services.
In this era of coronavirus and remote learning, broadband access is key to building equitable learning experiences and outcomes.
Outside of work: Board member, BESA and Franklin County Children Services; resource development committee, United Way of Central Ohio; advisory board member, Reeb Avenue Center and Global Center for Healthcare Education at Franklin University.
What does Columbus need to thrive? When I think about Columbus’ growth in the years to come, it is important that we as a community work together to ensure that children who attend Columbus City Schools have the same educational opportunities as their peers in our surrounding communities. Research has shown that improving schools can support an individual’s ability and the community’s ability to contribute to economic growth and personal well-being.
Simms’ idea: In this era of coronavirus and remote learning, broadband access is key to building equitable learning experiences and outcomes. I propose a project where the Future 50 could work alongside city leaders to find ways to provide free broadband access. In the next year, what could it look like if we identified a local census tract and built a pilot program that would provide a neighborhood in our community with broadband? As we learn about the needs of this specific neighborhood, we could build the foundation for a program that could be replicated in other areas of our community. We know that this issue is less about infrastructure and more about the ability to adopt and access this service.