Juanita  Budd

Executive Director

Austin Freenet

Juanita Budd has more than 18 years of nonprofit experience in a plethora of roles including strategic planning, volunteer and staff management and board membership. Since 2011, Juanita has led the strategic direction of Austin Free-Net while ensuring the organization stays relevant with technology as technology continuously changes. Under Juanita’s leadership, she managed a multi-year 9.3Million federal grant from the Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) of the U.S. Department of Commerce to expand technology training and access in the community. AFN partnered with the Texas Connects Coalition, the Metropolitan Austin Interactive Network and Technology for All. Through the grant, the key partners supported and enhanced 70 public computer center sites in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and across rural Texas. Since her tenure, she has collaborated with over 30 organizations to educate and improve broadband adoption and digital literacy programs.

Recently, AFN partnered with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, Google Fiber and Austin Community College to bring digital literacy classes to public housing residents as part of Unlocking the Connection, a homegrown Austin initiative to help close the digital divide for thousands of people. AFN has already successfully completed our pilot year course, graduating 122 HACA students from AFN’s Tech Starters program. This program now serves as a national model for digital literacy training through the White House’s 2016 technology initiative -- Unlocking the Connection.

Previously, Ms. Budd served as a Human Resources Director, Administrative & Operations Director, Chief Operations Officer and Vice President of Programs for a large nonprofit organizations which served 46 Texas counties. She implemented the strategic vision and leadership for the direct delivery of services and programs to adults and volunteers through the region, managing staff across five locations.

She also served as an Campus Advisory Council for National American University; Board Member for The Austin School for the Performing  & Visual Arts, Member One Voice Central Texas, panelist for Austin Human Resources Management Association (AHRMA) and has been invited to speak at the iConference 2014 in Berlin Germany.

Ms. Budd holds a BA in Political Science from Bucknell University; HR Management Certification from the University of Texas at Austin; is a certified Mediator through the Dispute Resolution Center; and received her Certificate in Texas Nonprofit Leadership & Management Program in 2008. She served as a member on the Texas Statewide Task Force on “Improving Relations with Nonprofits” recommended by the 83rd Texas Legislature. She served as one of the lead speaker in the Digital Inclusion Conference in Texas (“A Conference & Colloquium” at the University of Texas).

In 2014, Juanita spoke at South by South West Interactive on Digital Inclusion and Gigabit speed coming to Austin through Google.  She spoke on a Net Nuetrality panel discussion at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C. The Benton Foundation invited Austin Free-Net to participate in a nationwide study of digital inclusion programs in 2015. In 2016, Austin Free-Net under Juanita Budd’s leadership was awarded Austin Woman magazine’s Philanthropic Business of the Year. Juanita was also honored in 2017 by the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce through their Hidden Figures of Austin photography campaign.  The project’s goal is to promote achievements by local Black women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.