SCSS upgrades lab with Tech Matching Fund

Somali
Kudos to 23 community organizations who successfully completed Technology Matching Fund projects in 2015.  These projects achieved greater digital inclusion for over 4,100 residents in Seattle left behind by the digital divide.

One grantee, Somali Community Services of Seattle (SCSS), received a $9,000 award to upgrade their aging computer lab.   Computers almost a decade old made way for eleven new desktop computers.  The lab has since been used weekly to teach more than 215 youth, adults and seniors a variety of technology skills.  Classes are typically held twice a week for one hour by instructors versed in office computer skills.

Senior immigrants have especially benefited from these classes, because many had not been exposed to computers prior to arriving in the United States. The skills they learned in computer classes helped them write emails and letters to families and friends abroad. Some seniors even expressed a desire to teach these skills to youth as they learn and grow.   Somali businessmen and businesswomen also used the lab for crucial business tasks like creating budgets and flyers.

Executive Director Sahra Farah emphasized the value of City support for community-based organizations like hers.  “These funds help us fulfill our mission of assisting Somali refugee families and community members to achieve self-sustainable status in the communities they live in.  Because computer skills are such vital skills to have in the 21st century, these resources are irreplaceable in helping Somali community members stay relevant, and productive.”

National Award for Technology Matching Fund Grants

digitalinclustion2Seattle’s Community Technology Program has been honored by The National League of Cities, Next Century Cities, and Google Fiber with one of their inaugural Digital Inclusion Leadership awards.

The award recognizes the City’s Technology Matching Fund grant program as a leading best practice in fostering digital inclusion. Winners were chosen on the basis of a program’s ability to provide training, access, and hardware to a diverse range of participants, at low cost, with proven results and community engagement. The awards were established to celebrate the cities that are leading programs or empowering community-based organizations to tackle barriers to Internet adoption, and to encourage leaders in the public sector to get involved in digital inclusion by sharing best practices.

Over the past 18 years, the Technology Matching Fund program has enabled 153 community organizations to build their capacity to provide technology and internet access, digital skills training, and electronic civic engagement. The majority of City funding for the program has been allocated from cable franchise fees, and has reinvested over $3.9 million in community based projects. The City’s 2015 Technology Matching Fund projects, selected in July 2015, will collectively receive $470,000, enabling increased digital equity for more than 14,900 residents. Fund recipients are recommended by the City’s Community Technology Advisory Board and approved by the Mayor and City Council. The program has served as a model for other cities.

“This program is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure all Seattle residents can participate in our increasingly digital society,” said Michael Mattmiller, City of Seattle Chief Technology Officer. “This award is the result of strong commitment and partnerships for digital equity between our community organizations, Mayor Ed Murray, City Council, Community Technology Advisory Board, Department of Information Technology and the many volunteers and supporters working to help bring digital inclusion to all residents.”

The award was presented to the City of Seattle’s Department of Information Technology’s Community Technology Program on Thursday, November 5, at the National League of Cities’ Congress of Cities event in Nashville, Tennessee.

For more information on the Technology Matching Fund and the Community Technology Program in the Department of Information Technology, visit http://www.seattle.gov/tech/TMF.

Hundreds of Youth Bridge the Digital Divide

NS_computer classThis fall, hundreds of kids from North Seattle are returning to school empowered with new computer knowledge.

In the 2014 round of Tech Matching Grants (TMF), North Seattle Boys & Girls Club (NSBGC) was awarded $20,000 to create 23 computer work stations, now providing free computer access and education to hundreds of youth. Volunteers and staff monitor the labs, offer technology classes and partner with community organizations to offer additional programs.

Since the computers’ arrival last fall, the equipment has been in almost continual use. During the school year, homework takes priority for computer use as more than 100 youth come to the Club each afternoon. Various age groups cycle through the computer labs for designated homework time, with staff and volunteers available to help complete assignments. Each evening, technology education classes engage kids in activities like writing newsletters and designing projects.

Having the computer labs on-site also allows several special projects. Teens used the computers to research electric airplanes, create a blog about their community service projects, and learn about resume building. Younger kids used the computers to experiment with robotics, create newsletters and design graphic projects.

This summer, the North Seattle Club was selected to pilot a new Google CS First (Computer Science) curriculum. Led by AmeriCorps VISTA staff, youth as young as 4th grade experimented with writing code. This fall, North Seattle will continue the program with Club staff and volunteers teaching the class.

“Our computer labs are a springboard for so many programs and opportunities,” says Joan Caldon, Club Executive Director for NSBGC and STEM committee member for Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. “Strong technology skills open doors for our Club kids, and will likely provide a way out of poverty for many.”

 

TMF success: UW Women’s Center’s Making Connections

The University of Washington’s Women’s Center’s Making Connections (MC) program received a Technology Literacy and Access grant for $14, 399 to “provide enriching educational and character-building experiences for underrepresented Seattle-area high school girls to achieve in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).”

In the 2014-2015 academic year, MC served more than 105 students from 23 high schools in the greater Seattle area.  In addition to new computers at the center, other components of the program include mentoring, tutoring, career exploration, and founding a local chapter of the national “Girls Who Code” program to support MC students who want to pursue computer science. See more here.

Making Connections (MC) also provided opportunities for students to explore careers in STEM fields, which focus on providing a better understanding of what different companies (Boeing, Microsoft, Google, etc.) are like through hearing first-hand from managers and employees themselves. See more here.

“The most important experience of this event was hearing and networking with the Google employees. You learn so much from their past experience to better prepare yourself for your future. I now know that I can still explore different careers, and still have time to find my passion. Also, it was great to see what the Google company has to offer,” said one student who went to Google to participate in a hands-on activity where students could make their own designs for a product.

Mentoring is another core element of the MC program that offers students the ability to work one-on-one with a mentor who can provide them academic, professional, and personal guidance as they prepare for life after high school. Mentors have served in a variety of different fields and include college students, working professionals, and even former Making Connections students who want to give back. Mentors meet one-on-one with their mentees each month, and are up-to-date on resources that can assist their students. – See more here.

 

Technology Matching Fund

The Technology Matching Fund provides
awards of up to $30,000 in matching funds to community projects which increase technology literacy, provide access to computers, the Internet, and other information technologies; and increase civic participation in the use of technology.  Workshops are being held February 10, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. at 2100 Building, 2100 24th Ave S., Seattle, 98144; and on February 12, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Solid Ground, 1501 N. 45th St., Seattle, 98103.

Due date: March 19

Technology Matching Funds available: deadline March 19

Community organizations and nonprofits are invited to apply for nearly $500,000 in funding to increase digital equity.  The Technology Matching Fund awards are matched by the community’s contribution of volunteer labor, materials, professional services or funding.

“As a CApply nowity, Seattle is known for technology and innovation, yet too many residents do not have sufficient Internet access or the skills necessary to participate fully in today’s economy,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “This funding leverages the resources of the community by matching time and funding.”

The Technology Matching Fund has been in existence since 1997 and this year the City has $470,000 available for matching awards of up to $30,000 each to community groups and nonprofits. The deadline to apply is March 19, 2015.

The funding will be awarded in July to organizations who will improve digital equity by connecting traditionally-underserved populations, empower residents with digital literacy skills, and encourage diverse communities to use technology for civic participation.

Application materials and more information are available at www.seattle.gov/tech/tmf/.

Two workshops will be held for those interested in applying for the matching funds. The free workshops will provide an overview of the grant program, explain how to apply and detail characteristics of a successful application. First time applicants are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, February 10, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
2100 Building, 2100 24th Ave South, 98144

Thursday, February 12, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Solid Ground, 1501 N 45th St, 98103

Interpretation and accommodations are available upon request by calling 206-233-7877 or emailing communitytechnology@seattle.gov by February 6.

$470,000 in matching funds offered for technology projects

The City of Seattle invites community organizations and nonprofits to apply for nearly $500,000 in funding to increase digital equity. The Technology Matching Fund awards are matched by the community’s contribution of volunteer labor, materials, professional services or funding.

“As a city, Seattle is known for technology and innovation, yet too many residents do not have sufficient internet access or the skills necessary to participate fully in today’s economy,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “This funding leverages the resources of the community by matching time and funding.”

The Technology Matching Fund has been in existence since 1997 and this year the City has $470,000 available for matching awards of up to $30,000 each to community groups and nonprofits. The deadline to apply is March 19, 2015.

The funding will be awarded in July to organizations who will improve digital equity by connecting traditionally-underserved populations, empower residents with digital literacy skills, and encourage diverse communities to use technology for civic participation.

Application materials and more information are available at www.seattle.gov/tech/tmf/.

Two workshops will be held for those interested in applying for the matching funds. The free workshops will provide an overview of the grant program, explain how to apply and detail characteristics of a successful application. First time applicants are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, Feb. 10: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
2100 Building, 2100 24th Ave South, 98144

Thursday, Feb. 12: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Solid Ground, 1501 N. 45th St, 98103

Interpretation and accommodations are available upon request by calling 206-233-2751 or emailing communitytechnology@seattle.gov by February 6.

City of Seattle supports assistive technology lab, empowers older adults

IMG_2188 Older adults with low vision reconnect with their independence in a new assistive technology learning lab funded by the City of Seattle’s Technology Matching Fund. Low vision caused by age-related eye diseases compromises the ability of older adults to continue activities of daily life, self-care, and even social interaction. One nonprofit, Sight Connection, enhances the ability of individuals with vision loss to lead active independent lives. The Technology Matching Fund provided Sight Connection with a wide selection of assistive technology devices for lab participants to experiment with for their personal goals. Over 440 low vision lab participants discovered assistive technology devices help them read, write, communicate and search online, and accomplish other tasks linked to independence. At age seventy and living with macular degeneration, Barbara Reedal found an electronic magnifier and an iPad could help her write cards to loved ones, send emails, and read paperwork to become a kitten foster mother. She claims, “Things started looking better as soon as I became aware of everything available. My next goal is to use a smart phone and I know I can try it at Sight Connection.” Through the Technology Matching Fund, older adults are living life with low vision on their terms and giving back to their community. Visit sightconnection.org to learn more about Sight Connection and the assistive technology learning lab.