Community and National Initiatives Program
Gail Roper joined Knight Foundation in March 2019.
As director of national initiatives, she supports the national portfolio with an emphasis on technology-enabled innovation aligning with the foundation’s Smart Cities program.
Prior to joining Knight, Roper worked at Google as the southeast region’s partnerships manager, where she supported negotiations on municipal efforts related to the Google Fiber strategy. In this role, she negotiated contractual and permitting language with public sector clients, and presented large, complex projects to facilitate the implementation of innovative solutions on public property.
Roper comes to Knight with an extensive background in information technology. With more than 25 years of experience, she has served as chief information and community officer for the cities of Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Mo. and Raleigh, N.C. In her role in Raleigh, she co-chaired the Research Triangle’s efforts to bring high-speed broadband to the region by coordinating the interests of surrounding communities to create a comprehensive request for a regional gigabyte network.
Roper has served as an expert on technology strategy and innovation for governments worldwide, including groups in Spain, England and at the United Nation’s World Summit on the Information Society.
Roper built her career on the belief that technology can positively impact individuals and communities. She is founder of the Raleigh Digital Connector Program; In 2009, she secured federal funding to bring broadband access to underserved homes in Raleigh, creating a national model for a youth program that promotes digital literacy, financial and life skills for underserved students.
Roper holds a Bachelor in Business Administration degree from the Rockhurst School of Graduate and Professional Studies and a Certified Government Chief Information Officer certificate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been recognized by Government Technology for her work in technology innovation. Originally from upstate New York, Roper has two adult daughters.