On Monday, Brooklyn nonprofit Digital Girl Inc. unveiled its newly renovated technology hub, made possible after a $250,000 donation from the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty and Webull — the teams’ official jersey partner — covering computers and a three-dimensional printer.
The hub, located inside the Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Community Center on Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights, will help Digital Girl serve the community by providing free access to technology and computer development classes, the non-profit said in a statement.
Leaders at Digital Girl, tech hub sponsors and elected officials were all on hand at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the renovated hub on Monday. Also present at the event were Nets player Joe Harris and Liberty player Michaela Onyenwere.
Digital Girl founder and Executive Director Michelle Gall started off the ceremony by addressing a packed Betty Carter Auditorium at the community center.
“I want to really sincerely thank you. We really appreciate you all. We could not be here today without your support. It’s been a long time coming. We’ll be making eight years in November,” Gall said, adding she never imagined how successful Digital Girl could be when it was first founded in 2014.
“And now look at it—90,000 students served,” she said.
Digital Girl President Toni Robinson shared with the audience an anecdote about how far the organization had come since its founding. Around six years ago, Robinson said, Digital Girl had applied for a grant that it ultimately did not get.
“They gave us an exit interview and they told us why. And, one of the reasons they said we didn't get it is they said we were thinking too grand because we said in five years we wanted to have a technology center. And, look,” she said, prompting applause. “So, don’t let anyone tell you 'no' if you have something in your mind that you want to do.”
Gall and Robinson both thanked the partners who helped fund the technology hub, whose representatives also shared remarks.
“The Nets and Liberty have a long-standing relationship with Digital Girl, and one of the largest ways in which we align is our shared commitment to serving the Brooklyn community,” Sam Zussman, CEO of Nets and Liberty parent company BSE Global, told the audience.
State Senator Kevin Parker, who represents parts of Brooklyn, was among the elected officials at the ceremony.
“I’m really here as a commitment to continue to be a partner with you as we move forward and continue to build this center and build access to technology and more important technology training for young people across Brooklyn,” Parker said.
“So thank you for all that you’re doing and remember young people, you are the people who were here the day before yesterday and you’re going to be the people who continue to be here the day after tomorrow, and all of us need to continue to bring good into the world.”