Rural Funders Series - Increasing Rural Broadband Through Partnerships with Tribes

Rural Funders Series - Increasing Rural Broadband Through Partnerships with Tribes

Image of a farm land and homestead in Sublimity, Oregon

Event details

Tuesday, September 14, 2021
1:00pm to 2:30pm PDT

About this event

Around the country, rural communities are turning to tribal broadband programs and partners to reach their internet access goals. In this Rural Funder Series session, we will share real examples of communities working with tribes to accelerate their rural broadband access and opportunities for more funders to do the same. We’ll hear about:

  • How a struggling broadband effort for five counties in rural Idaho improved after they turned to their Nez Perce neighbors for infrastructure and services. 
  • Tribal programs and funding partnerships from a USDA representative.
  • Our Tribal Broadband Learning Community's insights on how tribes are reaching across borders to extend valuable services throughout rural areas.


Kyle Reis, Reis Foundation

Kyle is board chair of the Reis Foundation, a family foundation focused on justice for under-represented communities. He also serves as senior director at TechSoup, a nonprofit social enterprise that has connected more than a million civil society organizations around the world to billions of dollars worth of technology products and services. Previously, he spent twenty-five years at the Ford Foundation, where he held a dozen roles in program, operations and administration. Currently, he serves as board treasurer of the nonprofit design firm, Previously, he was board chair of the nonprofit evaluation firm, Innovation Network, and board co-chair of the 6,000-member philanthropic association, PEAK Grantmaking (formerly known as Grants Management Network.) 

Over the past decade, he has been part of several efforts to build stronger ties between the design and nonprofit communities. He is also working with Native and philanthropic leaders to increase the sector’s understanding of Native-led charitable entities and impact investing opportunities so that more capital flows to Native communities. And he’s recently been supporting an effort to encourage grantmakers to support a rare, time-bound opportunity that would enable rural tribes to deploy FCC spectrum licenses to build their communities’ broadband capacity and assert greater spectrum sovereignty over critical infrastructure. Kyle holds a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College and a master’s degree from New York University. 

Robert Tse, USDA

Robert Tse is a recognized expert on rural economy and broadband in California and currently serves as the senior policy advisor on broadband in the USDA, Rural Utilities Service. During his 30 years of public service, his focus areas have included agriculture technology, health-food-agriculture system, goods movement, international trade, water and energy. He created the first Apps for Ag Hackathons. As the USDA lead for President Obama’s Strong Cities-Strong Communities White House Initiative in Fresno, he developed a high-speed broadband and agriculture technology strategy. Prior to this position, he served as the deputy director for International Trade for the State of California, the highest-ranking state official for trade, and represented California’s agricultural priorities on the Governor’s trade missions. As the deputy secretary for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Robert developed and executed California’s Farm Bill strategy which resulted in significant changes to the 2008 US Farm Bill benefiting California’s agriculture sector, particularly in the area of specialty crops, invasive species and air quality conservation programs. He served for 17 years in the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service where he led the analyses of global consumer demand for U.S. agricultural products that was regularly cited by national and international media and industry. Robert Tse holds a J.D. from Boston College Law School, a master's degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University, and a bachelor's degree in American history from Brown University. He has received two USDA Secretary’s Honor Awards.

Danae Wilson, Nez Perce Reservation 

Danae Wilson has been in the technology field working to bring technology services to regions and communities where service does not exist or is extremely limited.  She lives and works on the Nez Perce Reservation in Northern Idaho. She is currently the telecom & technology co-chair for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, the co-chair for the FCC Native Nations Communication Task Force Committee and she sits on the FCC Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. She is also on the Native Public Media advisory board. Danae serves as the National Congress of American Indians representative to the FirstNet Authority Tribal working group and SAFECOM. Danae also sits on the State of Idaho Broadband Task Force. 



Philanthropy Northwest is partnering with Allen Smart of Philanthropy Worx to present this Rural Funder Series. In 2021, we will co-facilitate a series of six sessions where we will explore issues relevant to rural funders and learn best practices alongside peers who serve rural communities. 

Please contact Sharayah Lane with any questions.

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Pittulloch FoundationU.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)World Education ServicesThe Colorado Health Foundation