City of Seattle Awards $430,000 for Digital Equity

The Seattle City Council today, August 7, voted unanimously to award $430,000 in Technology Matching Funds to 15 local organizations. Technology Matching Fund projects are part of the City’s Digital Equity Initiative that works to increase connectivity, digital skills training, and provides devices and technology support.

“We are committed to closing the digital divide in Seattle by making devices, internet access, and technology knowledge available on a more equitable basis,” said Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller. “These funds help support vital programs that strengthen community partnerships.”

“This is an investment in our community that empowers our residents with digital skills and access,” said Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell. “We work every year to close the equity gap and these community technology projects are vital in bringing us closer to our goal of ensuring digital equity and opportunity for all residents.”

This year, the funds will help more than 6,000 residents in underserved or underrepresented communities, including immigrant and refugee communities, seniors, and people with disabilities.

“We were thrilled to receive Technology Matching Funds this year,” said Coalition for Refugees from Burma Youth Program Manager Siobhan Whalen. “It’s really important for our organization to continue to invest time and engage our resources into building the technology skills of our community.” The Coalition for Refugees from Burma will purchase a fleet of laptops to help parents who recently immigrated learn computer skills.

The Technology Matching Fund provides up to $50,000 of City funds that are matched by the community’s contribution of volunteer labor, materials, professional services, or cash. This year, Facebook also contributed $25,000 to Technology Matching Fund.

“Facebook is thrilled to support Seattle’s Digital Equity Initiative and the effort to connect and empower communities across the city,” said Facebook Public Policy Manager Amy Hirotaka.

“Receiving this funding gives us the opportunity to expand our program that was already helping immigrant mothers build their computer skills,” said Grants Manager Consuelo Echeverria for Somali Family Safety Task Force. “The laptops we’ll purchase will triple the time these women can spend in a computer lab each week. We’ll also be able to hire college students from the Somali community to teach them.”

The 2017 Technology Matching Fund award recipients and their projects:

  • Coalition for Refugees from Burma: Nexus DigiLab for Parent-School Engagement
  • Education for All: Digital Citizenship and Communication Project
  • Ethiopian Community in Seattle: ECS Digital Equity Project
  • Full Life Care: Technology Access Enhancement Project
  • Horn of Africa Services: Enhancing East Africans’ Access to Technology
  • Kin on Community Health Care: Expanding the Senior-friendly Kin on SmartLab
  • LaunchCode: LC101 Seattle: Training for Technology Jobs
  • Boys & Girls Club of King County, North Seattle Club: Wallingford Boys & Girls Club Technology Update
  • OneAmerica: English and Digital Skills for Citizenship
  • Senior Center of West Seattle: Upgrade on outdated computer lab
  • Somali Family Safety Task Force: East African Women Basic Computer Literacy Project
  • South Park Information and Resource Center: Aula Digital en Accion – ADA
  • STEMPaths Innovation Network: Project SMARTi in the Dunlap Elementary Community
  • The West African Community Council: Empowering West Africans with Technology
  • Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience: Mobile Digital Media Lab for Low-Income Youth

The Community Technology Advisory Board selected this year’s recipients from an applicant pool of 36. Technology Matching Fund is celebrating 20 years of supporting the community’s efforts to increase a technology-healthy city.

To learn more about the City of Seattle’s commitment to Digital Equity and the Technology Matching Fund, visit www.seattle.gov/tech/initiatives/digital-equity.