City of Seattle announces 2022 Digital Equity grant winners

The 25th year of digital grants welcomes the Digital Navigator Cohort as nearly 20 non-profits receive $590,000 to help close the digital divide in neighborhoods throughout the city

The City of Seattle is pleased to announce this year’s digital equity grant recipients. The list of winners includes a wide array of non-profits impacting more than five thousand Seattle residents serving 23 languages. The non-profits selected serve residents in all City Council Districts. They offer skills training in several categories including parent engagement, beginner digital literacy, career training, educational opportunities, as well as general life skills. Digital equity grant winners include funding opportunities from the Technology Matching Fund grants and the new Digital Navigator Cohort. This year, the City was able to fund 19 non-profits for a total of $590,000. 

“Improving digital access, literacy, and equity is essential to our city’s future and is a cause I’ve championed for years. Every resident needs to have not only access to our digital world, but the skills to navigate it successfully,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “I’m thrilled the City is delivering these digital equity grants to support our communities as we work together to build a connected and thriving One Seattle.” 

For more than 20 years, the City of Seattle’s Technology Matching Fund (TMF) grant offers up to $25,000 for qualifying non-profit organizations with digital equity projects. Projects will have to be completed within one year or less and applicants must match at least 25% of their funding request with cash, time, or other contributions.  

“In today’s high-tech world, it’s incumbent upon us to level the playing field by expanding digital access and equity,” said City Councilmember Sara Nelson, citywide. “I applaud the important work this year’s nonprofit recipients of Technology Matching Fund and Digital Navigator grants will do to ensure that vulnerable people and communities aren’t left behind. Thank you for helping to make Seattle a more just and equitable city.” 

Additionally, the City of Seattle created a Digital Navigator Cohort to add to its funding opportunities. Award recipients can receive up to $50,000. Projects under the Digital Navigator Cohort must be completed within 18 months or less. Although, unlike the Technology Matching Fund, the Digital Navigator Cohort does not require a community match. Digital Navigator Cohort winners aim to increase internet access and adoption by providing assistance in one-on-one or small groups, just-in-time assistance via phone service, email, text, video chat, and other communication methods.  

“As in every year the hard and sometime heartbreaking part of this process is having to select the award recipients from a long list of amazing and worthy proposals. I am thrilled the City of Seattle is investing nearly $600,000 in the critical work that our community partners are doing to help people get connected, stay connected, and use the internet and digital tools effectively,” said Interim Chief Technology Officer Jim Loter. “The organizations receiving these awards are essential for reaching people through their connections; their education, employment, and training programs; their language capabilities; and, most importantly, the trust they have earned with the communities they serve and support.  

The list below represents 2022 Digital Equity Grant winners from the Technology Matching Fund.  

Technology Matching Fund 

Organization Project Title Project Summary Award 
Seattle Jobs Initiative Digital Bridge (DB) Digital Bridge is a two-year-old program that offers multilingual training courses, including employment and education pathways, and no-cost laptops and/or hotspots with one-year unlimited access. The program also offers multilingual digital literacy skills training in both small groups and one-on-one instruction, in person and virtually, to no/low-income residents who are predominantly BIPOC, refugees and immigrants living in the Seattle area. Language-specific help desk hours occur outside class time to assist with assigned work and troubleshooting. By incorporating basic tech skills with employment skills and career navigation, Seattle Jobs Initiative is empowering participants to move into education pathways, training programs or full-time employment.         $24,946 
Path with Art Evolving Creative Connections Path with Art provides hardware and digital connectivity to no/low-income adults living in permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, tiny homes, or unsheltered. Path with Art is expanding the current program in several ways: deepening relationships with current providers with systems designed to equip and connect their new clients efficiently; adding technology to reach more users with Wi-Fi/hotspot-connected tablets and more. The program also includes digital literacy training and job/life skill building for 450 no/low-income adults. Grant funds will continue to support the program as well as purchase additional equipment to allow participants to build advanced skills useful in jobs and life. $25,000 
Dress for Success Seattle Digital Training & Technical Assistance for Women The program will be able to provide laptops, set-up, and one-on-one technical assistance with in-depth digital literacy skills training. The basic digital skills training will strengthen clients’ online learning capabilities such as helping them access remote programs and make the most of virtual interviews and hiring processes. Coupled with the agency’s one-on-one technical assistance, women will feel more comfortable and confident navigating the use of a computer for learning, job searching, or job performance.   $25,000 
Mini Mart City Park Mini Mart City Park Digital Infrastructure Mini Mart City Park is designed to be a community-led cultural center whose doors are open for events, programs, and workshops – as well as public access throughout the day. Grant funds will be used to equip the center with an array of digital components including Wi-Fi, an equipment library for loans including laptops, tablets, speakers, and more, as well as hiring a digital equity coordinator who can ensure that community members have the support they need to use this equipment effectively. Community users include low-income residents, youth programs, and access for non-profit groups.  $24,832 
YWCA Seattle/King Snohomish YWCA Laptop Loan to Own The YWCA will provide digital literacy instruction and coaching combined with a new “loan to own” laptop program to 70 limited-English-speaking residents, immigrants, refugees, and other BIPOC residents of White Center and the surrounding community. The YWCA will target residents who have not had access to technology resources and tools due to the “digital divide” and who need access to conduct successful job searches as well as other activities. The YWCA will use this grant to purchase and provide laptops and will supplement these devices with digital literacy instruction to enable all recipients to use the laptops, which they will ultimately keep once they accomplish digital literacy milestones.  $25,000 
PROVAIL Technology For All Award funds for the Technology for All project will greatly expand the utility of two established PROVAIL services, the Technology Lab and the Adaptive Technology Lending Library. The grant will help cover the costs of purchasing equipment and providing the related support and training to increase digital access and engagement for individuals with disabilities in our community. $25,000 
Elizabeth Home Connect the Day Center & Transitional House Grant funds will be used to purchase new computers for day center clients, as well as replace older equipment. Funding will also support staff with computer equipment, printers, Wi-Fi, and more, to better serve clients. Clients and staff use technology to connect to healthcare resources, jobs, housing, social security benefits, mental health and substance abuse referrals, legal advice, family and friends, to build resumes, and more. $25,000 
Jewish Family Service of Seattle Digital Equity for New Refugees and Immigrants Grants funds will be used to provide digital skills training and equipment including phones, laptops, Wi-Fi, and more to 50 refugees and immigrants in the City of Seattle over the course of a year. Jewish Family Service of Seattle’s goal is to ensure that our clients are equipped with the digital tools and skills that are necessary for successfully integrating into the community. $25,000 
The Prison Scholar Fund Information Highway Onramping The Prison Scholar Fund (PSF), in partnership with the Filipino Community of Seattle (FCS), Coding Dojo (CD), and the Center for Ethical Leadership (CEL) will host a new program called the Information Highway Onramping (IHO) program. The goal is to provide justice-involved, BIPOC community members who are interested in becoming proficient in utilizing today’s technology with training in basic computer and email operations. The students that demonstrate an aptitude for computer coding are provided with a full scholarship pathway to a coding bootcamp in partnership with Coding Dojo. In partnership with CEL, PSF will also provide culturally relevant skills training, soft skills development, and conflict resolution strategies for formerly incarcerated adult learners. $25,000 
Renaissance 21 Technology Education and Employment Navigation (T.E.E.N.) Empowerment Project The Technology Education and Employment Navigation (T.E.E.N.) Empowerment Project proposes to develop and launch an innovative, free workshop series in Fall 2022 that simultaneously develops digital literacy and job market literacy for underserved teens in South and West Seattle. Thirty youth from BIPOC and low-income communities will learn in-demand digital skills, get connected with digital equity resources and have a community of support. The project culminates with each participant producing a high-quality creative resume and applying for jobs, internships, or volunteer opportunities that align with their interests. Participants receive a tablet as a completion reward and are matched with a mentor to continue their digital journey. Partner locations receive workshop recordings and outreach materials for future use. $24,998 
Ethnic Cultural Heritage Exchange DIGITIZE Youth Programming DIGITIZE Youth Programs provide an introductory understanding of coding, design, digital literacy concepts, self-expression through collaboration with peers, and project management for youth of color. These programs consist of remote and hybrid workshops and fellowships. The programs offer the next generation more opportunities to grow their digital literacy skills, pursue interests central to their identity, and harness their creativity as multimedia storytellers. This grant will provide staff with the necessary funds to consistently implement a strong and flexible digital access and digital literacy program to a broader range of students.  $21,340 
Khmer Community of Seattle King County (KCSKC) Khmer Community Connects Khmer Community of Seattle King County plans to distribute tablets and Wi-Fi connectivity to 20 low-income and refugee Khmer elders and families in Seattle and support their technical needs by matching five young Khmer community members to elders as Tech Support Buddies as a key element of our Khmer Community Connects digital equity and access project. Bridging the digital divide by developing a culturally based and intergenerational approach is well aligned with the organization’s mission. $25,000 
Helping Link/ Một Dấu Nối Helping Link 2022: Enhancing Equity with Education & Equipment Helping Link’s 2022-2023 Enhancing Equity with Education & Equipment project will support the Seattle/Puget Sound Vietnamese American community with a new technical curriculum and devices. Helping Link’s goal is to strengthen its digital literacy program to better support its limited-English students and expand its reach within the community. This support includes outreach, curriculum, and device access. Grant funding will also include new equipment and staff to coordinate the technology education program and revamp it into a strong, visually accessible, bilingual Vietnamese-English curriculum that can be used online or in person to support clients’ digital literacy at school, work, and in their neighborhoods. $24,770 
SIFF SIFF 2022 Crash Mobile Workshops with LANGSTON and Red Eagle Soaring In partnership with Seattle non-profits LANGSTON and Red Eagle Soaring, Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is offering Crash Mobile, a series of free, immersive filmmaking workshops for BIPOC youth ages 8-13. Working with professional BIPOC film educators, students learn a wide range of digital media skills, including camerawork and how to use computers and software for film editing, sound design, and special effects, among others. During the workshops, students learn to create their own short films around culturally appropriate themes inspired by events and stories within their communities and leave with increased technical proficiency as well as creative filmmaking skills. $21,855 

The list below represents the winners for the 2022 Digital Equity Grant winners for the Digital Navigator Cohort. Applicant groups aim to increase internet access and adoption by providing one-on-one or small group support, assistance via phone, email, text, video chat, and other communications methods. 

 Digital Navigator Cohort 

Organization Project Summary Award 
Multimedia Resources and Training Institute (MMRTI) MMRTI’s existing Digital Navigators Project will continue addressing digital adoption barriers experienced by community members disproportionately impacted by the digital divide. This includes low-income BIPOC residents, individuals with disabilities, seniors, and other community members at high risk of exclusion to help them find and apply for affordable connectivity, obtain low-cost or free computing devices, complete online tasks, and connect to digital skills training and technical support. Linguistically and culturally appropriate Digital Navigators will provide one-on-one or small group assistance. The assistance will be provided in person or via phone, email, text, or video chat to 150 low-income residents living at Yesler Terrace or in the surrounding Central District neighborhood. Assistance will be provided to those who speak Amharic, Somali, Tigrinya, Chinese, Vietnamese, Oromo, and English. The Digital Navigators Project will focus on three main topics: 1) accessing and using devices and the internet, 2) assisting with basic digital navigation, and 3) troubleshooting technology issues. $48,885 
Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle The Eritrean Association’s Digital Navigator Project will offer comprehensive technical support to Eritreans of all ages. Dedicated staff will provide information and referrals to help community members. They will receive access to the internet and digital devices, assistance with basic digital navigation and help to troubleshoot technology issues through both phone or onsite appointments at the Eritrean Association’s North Rainier Community Center.    
 The project will serve East African youth, adults, and seniors. Among those served, approximately 45% speak English as a second language and at least 75% are low-income. The primary languages spoken are Tigrigna, Kunama, and Amharic.   
  The Eritrean Association’s goals are to help East African residents have the technological capacity to access essential services, health and wellness opportunities, employment and financial benefits, academic resources, civic and cultural engagement opportunities, and social connections to decrease isolation, increase their sense of engagement, and help them meet basic needs. 
$49,494 
Villa Comunitaria Promotoras digitales de la comunidad, or Digital Navigators, will provide technical assistance and expertise for internet connectivity, devices, and the skills to use them in a holistic and culturally appropriate way. This will involve one-on one and small group culturally literate assistance in Spanish. It will serve people with limited access to services such as rental and food assistance, system navigation tools, unemployment, COVID-19-related information, job search and resume building, among other topics.   This assistance will be provided primarily in person or by smartphone and video calls. Navigation will also be provided using email, text, chat, and other communication channels that work for the community. $50,000 
Somali Community Services of Seattle (SCSS) Digital Navigator services will focus on local Somali community members, many of whom lack financial and/or educational capacity to utilize digital technology. Somali Community Services of Seattle pledges to help all in need who request services. Program participants will be aided in getting online access and/or digital devices and building computer and online skills and troubleshooting. This help will allow more equitable participation in activities related to employment, community affairs, and education. It will also help with access to services and needed information to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.    $48,880 
Kin On Health Care Center Home Technology Service (HTC) is a senior-friendly technology program designed to enable Asian seniors aged 55+ to increase technology skills and improve access to digital resources. Partnering with 30+ community volunteers skilled in digital ability from the technology companies in the greater Seattle area, HTC will provide technology service and support  around the southeast Seattle area in its Seattle Community Center near Columbia City, the client’s home, or remotely. The service may include internet or device set-up, troubleshooting network or electronic equipment, one-on-one instruction in the use of technology equipment, and cyber fraud prevention tools in all digital devices. Asian seniors with limited English proficiency can get direct help in any digital difficulty they experience from an onsite digital navigator.    $50,000 

Applications were reviewed by a group of 15 made up of the Community Technology Advisory Board (CTAB) volunteers, as well as City of Seattle employees from different departments including the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Human Services Department, and Department of Neighborhoods. The City of Seattle digital equity grant cycle generally opens at the beginning of each year. To stay up to date on digital equity grant opportunities, sign up for the Seattle Information Technology Department’s newsletter at Seattle.gov/tech