Past Technology Matching Fund (TMF) Winner Highlight: Boys & Girls Clubs of King County

Welcome to the fourth part of the Technology Matching Fund & Digital Navigator Cohort Grant blog series! In this series, Seattle IT will be covering the Technology Matching Fund and Digital Network Cohort which is a project to build onto Seattle’s Digital Equity Statement and how qualifying non-profits can apply.

Technology has become an essential part of today’s society, whether it is online banking, interviews with people or learning in school. Technology is seen everywhere, especially prominent following the start of the pandemic. This is a shared sentiment by Deborah Baker, Grant Writer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. The Boys & Girls Clubs of King County has won the Technology Matching Fund Grant for two consecutive years since 2020. In 2020 the Northgate Boys & Girls Club was provided reliable internet as a result of the Technology Matching Fund that enabled the kids to learn remotely effectively.

The kids involved in the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County are elementary schoolers between the ages of five to eleven. Most of the kids come from underserved communities, where internet is not available at home. Baker explains that “Had we not had the reliable internet the kids couldn’t have come back for remote learning so they conceivably would have missed out on…another six months of education.”

The Technology Matching Fund allowed the kids who were part of the program in Northgate and Lowell Elementary School to have access to reliable internet in the gym. As well as access to other equipment, such as headphones, tablets, and robotics equipment. Baker fondly recalled “They (the kids) are loving the robotics stuff, particularly the kids are just so excited about doing it, so they’re doing some preliminary coding exercises and then they got like a gradation of programs and that was all made possible by the City funding.”

Success today is tightly linked to the ability to navigate and understand technology. Both the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County and the Technology Matching Fund have the same objective: to get technology into populations who do not have access to it.

“If the Covid pandemic did anything, it’s raising awareness of how critical it is to understand and be able to use technology, have technology. And I think everybody knows it’s only going to grow,” said Baker Because technology is such a large part of the world, the ability to provide the kids with reliable internet and equipment has been met with high appreciation by the organization. Baker shared that the community “Absolutely appreciated and [it] made a huge impact because it really helped these kids stay connected stay involved in school, not fall behind.”

The pandemic has certainly changed how younger populations rely on technology. Technology is critical to education, critical to the ability to find a job, and critical to connectivity given all the different mediums technology provides. Baker says, “Technology is at the heart of most communications right now.” For the kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, the provision of technology by the Technology Matching Fund acted as a sign of support to them, a confidence booster that they do have the capability to use technology and they can learn about how to use it.

When asked on what advice she had for people who are applying for the Technology Matching Fund this year, Baker refers to her own experience applying for the grant and how City employees involved with the grant have been supportive. “They have the expertise to help you be successful and if anybody is at all considering it to reach out and ask.”

If you did not catch the last part of the Technology Matching Fund and Digital Navigator blog series, you can read about it here: https://techtalk.seattle.gov/2022/03/07/technology-grants-are-coming-learn-whats-new/


Stay tuned for the next part of this blog series where additional past winners will be covered.

You can learn more about Digital Equity grants and open houses to receive application support by following this link: http://www.seattle.gov/tech/initiatives/digital-equity/funding-opportunities