Bridging the divide
Northbrook's Vass is an Internet service provider but his passion
is for building bridges - the technological kind. He wants to help
minorities and people with disabilities plug into the Internet.
"I started looking at how technology impacts the differences
between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' and I thought about the lack
of Internet access for minorities - particularly blacks and Hispanics
- and the disabled." President of Northshore InfoRamp, Inc.,
Vass teamed up with a number of like-minded business and community
leaders to found The Digital Opportunity Coalition. "We want
to take the Internet to places that don't have it." The group
is setting up community technology centers where minorities and
the disabled can learn how to navigate the Internet. The coalition
also solicits donations of used computers from corporations and
recycles the equipment for the community centers, with help from
the Jim Mullen Foundation, named for the Chicago police officer
paralyzed in the line of duty. Vass also hopes to bring more computers
into homes in low-income neighborhoods.
The son of Holocaust survivors, Vass says he's eager to make a difference
in the world. "The children of Holocaust survivors always want
to try to fix things. If you empower people, it builds human capital."
He also believes corporations that provide trainers and used computers
also stand to benefit from an increase in skilled potential employees.
For more information, call Vass at 847.909.7500 or see www.docillinois.com.
Vass and his wife Judy, have three children. He is on the board
of Am Shalom Synagogue.