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 2022 proposals accepted digitally Monday, May 2 through 5 p.m. on Friday, June 10 at bloomington.in.gov/digital-equity.
The program, now in its third year, began as part of Mayor John Hamilton’s Recover Forward (bloomington.in.gov/recoverforward) initiative to help Bloomington recover from the pandemic and economic collapse, and advance racial, economic, and climate justice. Beginning in 2022, the award funds have become a regular part of the Information and Technology Services Department’s annual general fund budget.
An informational meeting about the Digital Equity Grant application process will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 10 via Zoom and can be accessed using this link and information below:
Meeting ID: 840 1675 9307
+13126266799,,84016759307# US (Chicago)
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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 (https://bton.in/mE_-Q)
- Aligning with initiatives recommended in the city’s Digital Equity Strategic Plan (https://bton.in/-NQkR)
“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 Digital Equity Grants awarded in 2021 (https://bton.in/SEsQv) supported the following nine organizations and projects:
- Area 10 Agency on Aging, Creating Digital Literacy Opportunities and Tackling Social Isolation in the World of COVID, $4,700
- Artisan Alley, Wifi Mill, $4,000
- Courage to Change Sober Living, Technology Access/Instruction for CTCSL, $6,800
- Farmer House Museum/Tech Heroes, Bloomington Stories, and Farmer House Museum Stories, $5,400
- Hotels4Homeless/New Leaf New Life, Long Term Access to Technology and Skill Building for Those Experiencing Homelessness, $7,600
- Monroe County Public Library, OWL Camera for Remote/Hybrid Public Meeting Rooms, $1,000
- Monroe County United Ministries, Closing the Service and Referral Gap for Monroe County United Ministries’ Clients, $7,000
- New Leaf New Life, Digital Efficiency, $4,200
- South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP), Digital Action Plan for Thriving Connections Families, $9,300
The Digital Equity Grants program is part of the City’s larger plan to improve digital equity in our community, address challenges, and pursue solutions identified in the City’s 2020 Digital Equity Strategic Plan including in the following areas:
- 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.
- 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 bloomington.in.gov/digital-equity.