The city of Bloomington supports nonprofit organization efforts to bridge the digital divide with second year of Digital Equity grants

BLOOMINGTON –  The City of Bloomington invites nonprofit organizations to apply for funding to support their efforts to bridge the digital divide and increase digital resources for residents. 

The Digital Equity Grants program will award $50,000 in funds to Bloomington-based nonprofits, with proposals for 2021 award funds accepted Monday, August 16 through Friday, September 10 at 5 p.m. at a submission form available at https://bloomington.in.gov/digital-equity.

The program, now in its second year, is funded through Mayor John Hamilton’s Recover Forward initiative to help Bloomington recover from the pandemic and economic collapse, and advance racial, economic, and climate justice.

An informational meeting about the Digital Equity Grant application process will be held on Tuesday, August 24 at 10 a.m. via Zoom and can be accessed using this link and the information below:

Meeting ID: 925 7640 0152
Passcode: 508429
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,92576400152# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,92576400152# US (New York)

Find your local number: https://bloomington.zoom.us/u/adolbA6rdu

The Digital Equity Grants program will accept proposals from nonprofits for projects that build capacity in the community to address digital equity challenges by  

  • Facilitating access to broadband service, especially affordable options;
  • Increasing access to computing devices to effectively use the internet;
  • Cultivating the knowledge, familiarity, and digital skills needed to secure the benefits of the internet and computers;
  • Improving skills needed to use the internet safely, securely, and confidently to engage in digital life;
  • Mitigating community digital equity gaps identified in the City’s digital equity survey; and
  • Aligning with initiatives recommended in the city’s Digital Equity Strategic Plan.
Mayor John Hamilton

“Digital access is a basic utility that’s essential to full participation in our world,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “These grants help support our community partners in their efforts to increase residents’ access to the internet and digital devices and acquisition of digital literacy.”   

The first round of Digital Equity Grants in December 2020 supported the following organizations and projects:  

  • Area 10 Agency on Aging, Creating Digital Literacy Opportunities and Tackling Social Isolation in the World of COVID, $9,400
  • Artisan Alley, Wifi Mill, $3,000
  • Farmer House Museum/Tech Heroes, Bloomington Stories, $7,300
  • Hotels4Homelessness/New Leaf New Life, Access to Technology for Families Experiencing Homelessness, $3,300
  • Monroe County Community School Corporation, MCCSC Mobile Classroom WIFI Access, $1,500
  • Monroe County Public Library, Circulating iPads and Wireless Hotspots at MCPL, $10,500

The Digital Equity Grant program is part of the City’s larger plan to improve digital equity in the community and address challenges and pursue solutions identified in the City’s 2020 Digital Equity Strategic Plan including the following:

  • Availability Gap: Address areas in the community where broadband is unavailable, competition is minimal or bandwidth is inadequate;  
  • Adoption Gap: Where available, overcome barriers to broadband adoption including service affordability, usable devices, etc;
  • Utilization Gap: Cultivate the knowledge, familiarity and digital skills needed to secure the benefits of the internet and computers; and
  • Institutionalization: Support community and organizational capacity-building to ensure digital equity is a continuing focus of community development. 

More information about the City’s efforts to increase digital equity, including answers to frequently asked questions about the Digital Equity Grant program, is available at https://bloomington.in.gov/digital-equity.  

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