2021 Technology Matching Fund grant recipients announced

The City of Seattle today announced the recipients of the 2021 Technology Matching Fund. With an investment of $343,000, 15 organizations will receive funding for community-led projects which aim to increase access to technology and provide digital skills training for underserved communities.

The grants range from $11,000 to $25,000, and organizations have pledged a total of $480,795 to match City dollars with at least 50 percent in cash or in-kind contributions of labor, professional services and donated hardware and software.

“This past year made clear both how essential reliable internet is and how many obstacles to access remain for historically disadvantaged groups and neighborhoods,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “This investment will help bridge Seattle’s digital divide by making access more affordable and more available for more people while investing in programs that develop the skills required to compete in a digital economy. This is how we build back better.”

This year’s recipients will reach more than 2,100 Seattle residents with creative solutions for accessing technology devices, internet connectivity and digital literacy training. Greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, many digital equity providers had to rapidly change their service delivery models to continue providing much needed services and classes in a safe and virtual manner. These projects acknowledge the constraints and will offer creative solutions for transitioning back to in-person instruction, while continuing to provide hybrid options. Several projects will offer lending programs of not only traditional laptops, but also media production tools to encourage creativity and light for their impacted communities. Older adults and other vulnerable BIPOC community members will receive digital navigation services and support, both within low-income housing communities and throughout Seattle.

“The COVID crisis laid bare the disparities in our communities and magnified the need to bridge the digital divide as called for by our City’s bold Internet for All Action Plan,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen, who chairs the City’s Transportation and Utilities Committee, which includes technology. “Even as we expand access to the internet throughout Seattle, our Technology Matching Fund continues as a cornerstone of our efforts to connect all our city’s residents to education, jobs, and other vital services.”

The Technology Matching Fund is pleased to continue a strong partnership with the Verizon Foundation. This year, they will be directly funding the Equity in Education Coalition, AmeriCorps Digital Navigation Cohort. “Verizon is proud to participate in the 2021 Technology Matching Fund. The shift to remote learning and telehealth services as a result of this pandemic, highlights the criticality of TMF programs. By partnering, we are able to broaden the field of community sourced ideas that can take root in the city in support of our shared objectives of affordability, access and adoption of broadband for all,” said Azmeena Hasham, executive director of community engagement at Verizon. Their first Technology Matching Fund project, PROVAIL, was awarded in 2020.

The Technology Matching Fund was created in 1997 and has since awarded more than $6 million to organizations, funding more than 365 community technology projects. The grants are funded through the city’s cable franchise fees and contributions from community partners such as Facebook, which invested in matching fund projects in 2017 and 2018.

“The City of Seattle has a deep history of community involvement through the Technology Matching Fund Program. This year, more than ever, the need for technology improvement is critical as we struggle with inequity from this global pandemic,” said Saad Bashir, Chief Technology Officer, Seattle Information Technology Department. “These grant winners are working to help end these inequities through innovative and creative technology solutions that meet the need in their communities.

The Technology Matching Fund awards up to $25,000 to non-profit organizations in Seattle for digital-equity projects. The City of Seattle’s Community Technology Advisory Board recommended the funded projects from a competitive pool of 55 applicants, which submitted proposals totaling over $1,288,000 in requested funding.

Below is a list of the 2021 Technology Matching Fund recipients. Read more about the projects here.

  • Boys & Girls Club of King County, Technology Station @ Lowell Boys & Girls Club
  • East African Community Services, East African Digital Literacy Project
  • Equity in Education Coalition, AmeriCorps Digital Navigation Cohort
  • Kin On Health Care Center, Kin On SmartLab: Smart Living for Seniors
  • Literacy Source, Digital Literacy for Immigrants/Refugees
  • Multimedia Resources & Training Institute, Bridging the Divide through Digital Navigators
  • Path with Art, Evolving Creative Connections: Voices of Unhoused
  • Renaissance 21, Virtual STEAM Discovery Project
  • Senior Center of West Seattle, Building Community Through Connections
  • Simulated Immersive eXperimental Realities, [FFMF] Future Founders Maker Fellowship
  • Somali Family Safety Task Force, 2021 Somali Digital Literacy Project
  • Sound Generations, Digital Access and Equity for Lake City Seniors
  • The Vera Project, Equip the Kids – Production Lab & Lending Library
  • Wa Na Wari, Digital Production Utility Kit
  • Windz of Change Alliance, Indigenouz Collective Cyber Communications

Technology Matching Fund grants align with the Internet for All Seattle initiative, launched in the summer 2020 to move the City toward enabling universal broadband adoption.

To learn more about the City of Seattle’s commitment to digital equity and the Technology Matching Fund, go visit our website.