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Keeping Inclusive Innovation a Focus During a Pandemic

A Conversation between Former Mayor Michael Nutter and Shamina Singh

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that the digital divide is greater than we thought, and the ramifications of this are significant. As municipalities have issued shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus, several dimensions of daily life for residents have moved online. Many employers have shifted to teleworking, school has moved online, and cities have relied on websites and livestreams to disseminate critical information about the pandemic. Yet many residents lack the internet access, connected devices, and digital literacy to fully participate in online work, education, and civic life. How can cities focus on inclusive innovation during a pandemic, and what have we learned about how cities advance equity?

This conversation will feature two leaders in the effort to advance digital inclusion. In his tenure as mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter leveraged technology and digital services to make city services more readily available to all residents. Among these efforts were Philly 311, the city’s first 311 service, and KEYSPOT, a network of public, private, and nonprofit organizations that provides technology and training through more than 50 community-based free computer labs. As the president and founder of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Shamina Singh has championed digital inclusion and supported efforts by cities to leverage technology and public-private partnerships to ensure the digital economy works for everyone, everywhere. Moderated by Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, Mayor Nutter and Ms. Singh will share their visions for advancing equity during this pandemic and highlight effective strategies for using technological innovation to accelerate inclusion.



  • Michael Nutter, former Mayor, City of Philadelphia @Michael_Nutter
  • Shamina Singh, Founder and President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth @shaminasingh
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute (moderator) @swartell


Follow the conversation on Twitter: #InnovateForInclusiveGrowth


Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth logo
Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth logo

This event is supported by a grant from the Mastercard Impact Fund, in collaboration with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. For more information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles, go to

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Send any inquiries regarding this event to [email protected].


Date & Time Friday, June 5, 2020

  • President