Eleven Technology Matching Fund recipients aim to close digital divide
The Seattle City Council approved $320,000 in funding for community-led projects that increase digital literacy. The Technology Matching Fund grants were awarded to 11 projects that will reach an estimated 3,000 residents, increasing their access to technology and digital skills training.
“Access to technology and digital literacy is an equity issue. Important tasks like applying for jobs, finding healthcare, accessing childcare, and even communicating with our loved ones in times of need have all moved online, making internet access and digital skills more critical than ever. 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, just city.”
This year’s recipients include a program offering youth with disabilities and English-language learners hands-on training in sound and multimedia technologies, a computer lab to serve low-income and homeless people, a career-training program in web design and coding for low-income women of color, and a digital literacy curriculum for indigenous artists.
Technology Matching Fund grants are distributed annually as part of the city’s broader Digital Equity Initiative. Funded projects improve connectivity and provide devices and technology support to communities that might not have equitable access. The funded organizations, selected from a pool of 47 applicants, will reach more than 3,000 residents, including immigrants, refugees, homeless residents, seniors, youth, and people with disabilities.
“I have seen this program grow and evolve over the years and I’m looking forward to seeing what this particular group of awardees will accomplish over the next year,” said Seattle 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 very pleased to see how this funding will address some of our city’s most pressing needs.”
The Technology Matching Fund awards up to $50,000 to non-profit organizations in Seattle for digital-equity projects. City dollars are matched at 50 percent with cash or in-kind contributions of labor, software, hardware, supplies and services. This year’s projects will provide a projected $302,000 in matching resources.
“We want to do our part to level the technology learning field and give all Seattle residents the educational opportunities afforded to them despite access or income level,” said Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer Saad Bashir. “Our goal is to continue to narrow the digital divide.”
The 2019 Technology Matching Fund recipients:
- Atlantic Street Center
- Computing For All
- Dress for Success Seattle
- Full Life Care
- Indigenouz PlaceMakerz
- Jack Straw Foundation
- Kin On Health Care Center
- Multimedia Resources and Training Institute
- Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project
- Seattle Neighborhood Group
- South Park Information and Resource Center
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 agreements.
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.