The City of Seattle Awards $400,000 to Help Improve Digital Equity

Photo courtesy YouthCare, a 2018 recipient

 The Technology Matching Fund grants will be offered for the 21st year in a row to organizations in Seattle working on improving lives through technology literacy

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved $400,000 in Technology Matching Funds be awarded to 12 local organizations. These grants are given out annually to uphold the commitment by the City of Seattle as outlined in the Digital Equity Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to improve connectivity, digital skills training, and provide devices, and technology support to communities that might not have equitable access.

“Furthering technology equity and access is an important way to create opportunity for historically underserved neighborhoods,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “These investments allow our communities to capitalize on technology and job training while making a more inclusive city.”

This year, projects receiving funds will support a broad range of community-driven, collaborative solutions to achieve digital equity in Seattle. They will reach over 8,300 residents, including immigrants, refugees, seniors, youth, and people with disabilities.

“It’s a pleasure to be part of this process each year as we build this relationship with organizations that are making a difference in making technology more available to everyone,” said Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell. “We inch closer to digital equity each year when we allocate this funding. I’m especially pleased to see this funding package emphasizes programs that work with adults and youths experiencing homelessness.”

One recipient is YouthCare which will use their award of $49,940 to help young people experiencing homelessness with their employment and education goals.

“YouthCare is excited for this opportunity to use technology to help young people experiencing homelessness achieve their employment and education goals,” said Development and Communications Manager Jody Waits. “Lack of access to technology can be a significant barrier that homeless young people must navigate, and overcome, in their path to stability. This grant will allow YouthCare to bridge the digital equity gap so that homeless young people can have the tools and skills to get off the streets and find lasting career opportunities.”

City funding for the awards is matched by the community through additional cash, donations of hardware, software, supplies and labor. A one-half to one match is required of each organization receiving funding; however, the community contribution is often greater than the City’s support. This year’s projects are projected to provide more than $300,000 in community matching resources.

“It’s a pleasure to award these grants that help build vital skills like job hunting, helping kids with homework, and accessing government services,” said Tracye Cantrell, Acting Director of Seattle Information Technology. “Through increased outreach to the community, we saw a greater number of submissions this year from a diverse pool of applicants, which is exciting.”

Literacy Source received $32, 379 will expand their digital literacy classes to serve more adults with limited English proficiency.
“We’re thrilled to receive this grant to continue our work improving the literacy skills of the community we serve,” said Literacy Source Executive Director Lynn Livesley. “Developing these skills is critical to the personal growth of an individual and to the community’s overall economic outlook.”

The 2018 Technology Matching Fund award recipients and their projects:

  • Community Passageways: Technology Equity for Young Adults of Color
  • East African Community Services: 2018 Technology Matching Fund
  • Garinagu HounGua: Garifuna Digital Literacy Workshop Series
  • Helping Link: Mobile Computer and iPad Literacy Lab
  • Literacy Source: Open Doors – Increasing Basic Digital Literacy
  • Millionair Club Charity: Computer Lab Expansion/Update
  • PROVAIL: Adaptive Technology for Children with Disabilities
  • Seattle Neighborhood Group: Building Our Bridge: Crossing the Digital Divide
  • Somali Family Safety Task Force: 2018 Digital Literacy in West Seattle
  • South East Effective Development: Technology Builds Community
  • United Indians of All Tribes Foundation: Broadband and Public Computer/Internet Access
  • YouthCare: Employment Technology Supports for Homeless Youth (pictured above)

Photo courtesy YouthCare, a 2018 recipient

 

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