Jordana Barton discussed the Rio Grande Valley’s digital divide with Rio Grande Guardian editor Steve Taylor.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Jordana Barton has reassured the Rio Grande Valley that she will continue to work to eliminate the region’s digital divide.

After championing the cause for many years while a senior advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – San Antonio Branch, Barton recently made a career move. She is now vice president of community investment for Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.

“My new position allows me to focus more in the area that I care so deeply about, the Rio Grande Valley, in fact the border region while I was born and raised,” said Barton, in a video conversation with the Rio Grande Guardian.

Barton was born and raised in Benavides, Texas, and has spent 20 years of her career leading community development efforts across South Texas.

She said it is “very fitting” that her life would come full circle and allow her to work with border communities such as Brownsville on addressing the digital divide. “It is a privilege to serve this area, that I feel so committed to,” she said.

Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas was one of the advisers when Barton researched her highly-praised colonias study – “Las Colonias in the 21st Century: Progress Along the Texas Texas-Mexico Border” – for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. 

“They (Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas) have been so committed to the border region. They have 74 counties in South Texas and certainly the border region has been an area of major investment for them,” Barton said.

Barton points out that Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas has been one of the partners that have helped fund the ‘closing the homework gap’ or the ‘remote learning gap’ in San Antonio.

“They are very much interested in closing the digital divide. They understand that that is an issue that intersects with every area of community development and the social determinants of health.”

A news release from the nonprofit says that as vice president of community investment, Barton will oversee Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ strategic grant-making and seeking processes “to provide strategic leadership, vision, and management in the initiation, execution, and successful completion of mission driven community investments across the 74 counties the organization serves.”

It adds that as a “thought leader” to the organization, Barton will play “an important role in supporting the organization’s mission and vision by aligning the philanthropic strategy with the organization’s overall strategic plan.”

Barton earned her Masters’ in Public Administration from Harvard University, John F.Kennedy School of Government. She is on the board of directors of SA2020 and on the advisory board of the Texas Health Improvement Network of the University of Texas System. In 2020, she was named, “Salud Hero” (health hero) by Salud America, a program of UT Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame.

“We are extremely blessed to have Jordana join our team, bringing her wealth of knowledge and experience in community investment to further strengthen our efforts in supporting resilient families and thriving communities across South Texas,” said Jaime Wesolowski, president and CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.

Here is the conversation:

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series on Jordana Barton’s work addressing the digital divide. Part 2 will be posted in the coming days.

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