Fund invests in community projects to improve digital literacy, access to technology
The Seattle Information Technology Department is opening the Technology Matching Fund’s 2020 cycle in conjunction with Digital Inclusion Week (Oct. 7 -11), an opportunity to raise awareness about digital inequities and nationwide efforts to close the digital divide.
The Technology Matching Fund offers matching funds of up to $25,000 to community-led Seattle-based projects that increase digital literacy and access to free or low-cost broadband and provide technology support to underserved communities.
“While Seattle has a long history of leading the way on digital innovation, not everyone has benefitted equally from our City’s technological revolution,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “We know that digital equity is a race and social justice issue. More and more it is becoming difficult to survive without access to high-speed internet and the skills to navigate the digital world. Access to vital services, employment, housing, and continued learning opportunities have all moved online. The Technology Matching Fund is one way that the City of Seattle is working to close the opportunity gap for low-income residents and vulnerable populations.”
Central to the Technology Matching Fund is the community match which requires funded nonprofit organizations to match at least half of their award request with volunteer time, donated materials including hardware and software, donated professional services, or cash.
In 2019, the City invested $320,000 in 11 projects estimated to reach more than 3,400 residents — including 1,700 immigrants and refugees, 250 youth, 570 seniors and 900 people with disabilities. The City’s investment will be matched with a projected $302,915 in community resources. In an effort to fund more projects, the maximum award amount in the current funding cycle is $25,000, down from $50,000 in recent years.
“Everyone should be on equal footing in an increasingly digitally-driven world. A lack of connectivity and digital literacy skills makes it difficult for people to be successful in modern society,” said Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell and chair of the Governance, Equity & Technology Committee. “Improving digital equity has been a major commitment of mine, and I am inspired by the impact of our investments designed to reduce and eliminate barriers to technology access and use.”
The Technology Matching Fund application and guidelines are available at seattle.gov/tech/initiatives/digital-equity/technology-matching-fund. The application deadline is Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, at 5 p.m.
“In Seattle, we’re working diligently to close the digital divide in partnership with a diverse group of community partners,” said Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer Saad Bashir. “This funding cycle, we look forward to streamlining the Technology Matching Fund review process to get our investments into the community more quickly.”
Learn what makes a strong application by attending a workshop. The sessions will cover specifics on eligibility and how to apply. While attendance is not required, first-time applicants are encouraged to attend.
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 5:30 – 7 p.m.
2100 Building, Community Room B, 2100 24th Ave S.
Friday, Nov. 22, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Northgate Branch Library, 10548 5th Ave N.E.
Saturday, Dec. 7, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Rainier Beach Branch Library, 9125 Rainier Ave S.
Interpretation and accommodations at the workshops are available upon request. Call (206) 233-2751 or email email@example.com.
The Technology Matching Fund was created in 1997 and has since awarded more than $5 million to organizations funding more than 300 community technology projects. The grants are funded through the city’s broadband franchise agreement.