The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian:
For Immediate Release
August 21, 2023
For more information, please contact:
Rick Dietz, Director, Information & Technology Services Department,
[email protected] or 812-349-3485
Angela Van Rooy, Interim Communications Director, Office of the Mayor
[email protected] or 812-349-3505
City of Bloomington Awards 2023 Digital Equity Grants Funds to Thirteen Area Nonprofits
Bloomington, Ind. – The City of Bloomington announces the 2023 Digital Equity Grants awards to support Bloomington-based nonprofit organization efforts to bridge the digital divide and increase digital resources for residents. Now in its fourth year, this grant program began as part of Mayor John Hamilton’s Recover Forward initiative to help Bloomington recover from the pandemic and economic collapse, and advance racial, economic, and climate justice. These grants are funded from the Information & Technology Services (ITS) Department’s regular annual budget.
“With the Digital Equity Grant program, the City partners with nonprofits in our community who provide creative solutions to bridging the digital divide,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “Thanks to the hard work of these organizations, our community continues to move toward greater digital equity.”
In 2023 the Digital Equity Grants program awarded thirteen area nonprofits a total of $50,000, an increase from eleven nonprofits in 2022. This year’s recipients, programs supported, and grant amounts follow:
- Area 10 Agency on Aging – Creating Digital Literacy Opportunities and Tackling Social Isolation in the World of COVID, $6,100.
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington – Bee Safe Online, $6,900.
- Community Justice and Mediation Center – Eviction Prevention Project, $2,900.
- Courage to Change Sober Living – Printers/Scanners/Supplies/Wi-fi Service for Courage to Change Sober Living Houses, $2,300.
- Middle Way House – The RISE! Computer Lab, $1,900.
- Monroe County Community School Corporation Adult Education – The Fabrication of Skills, Prosperity, and Connections, $,5900.
- Monroe County United Ministries – Your Path to Self-Sufficiency: Supporting Utilization & Institutionalization of Digital Resources, $3,000.
- Indiana Recovery Alliance – Digital Equity for Unhoused People and People Who Use Drugs to Access Health Care and Benefits, $4,100.
- New Leaf, New Life – Office Internet & Printer Access, $1,500.
- Pantry 279 – Technology for new Pantry 279 Building, $3,700.
- Sojourn House – Sojourn House Education Pathway, $3,100.
- Summit Hill Community Development Corporation – Affordable Housing Community Computer & Network Access, $5,900.
- Wheeler Mission – PC and Printing Availability Program, $2,700.
“This is the fourth year of the City’s Digital Equity Grants initiative, and we are grateful for the increasing interest from local organizations in applying for these grants,” said Information and Technology Services Director Rick Dietz. “The City’s 2020 Digital Equity Strategic Plan identified several areas of Digital Equity challenges, and we greatly appreciate being able to partner with so many great local organizations to meet these challenges head-on.”
The Digital Equity Grants program sought proposals from nonprofits for projects that build capacity in the community to address digital equity challenges, in the following ways:
- Facilitate access to broadband services,
- Increase access to computing devices to effectively use the internet,
- Cultivate the knowledge, familiarity, and digital skills needed to secure the benefits of the internet and digital technology,
- Mitigate community digital equity gaps identified in the City’s digital equity strategic plan.
About Digital Equity
Digital Equity is defined by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) as “a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy.”
The City of Bloomington and Hoosier Networks, LLC continue to collaborate on a groundbreaking digital equity program, one of the most innovative broadband public-private collaborations in the country,* to help low-income and digitally-disadvantaged households access top-quality internet services.
Bloomington has been recognized by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance as a 2021 and 2022 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer. Learn more about the City of Bloomington’s Digital Equity program at bloomington.in.gov/digital-equity. The City’s Digital Equity Strategic Plan is available at https://bton.in/-NQkR. Learn more about the National Digital Inclusion Alliance at digitalinclusion.org.
City-Wide High-Speed Fiber Internet Project
In addition to bringing Wi-Fi to City parks, the City of Bloomington and Hoosier Fiber Networks continue to collaborate on one of the country’s most comprehensive, inclusive, and innovative public-private partnerships to help low-income and digitally disadvantaged households access top-quality internet service.
Eligible low-income residents may qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP) to receive at least a symmetrical 250 megabits per second (Mpbs) plan at no cost to the user if ACP is applied. The City and Hoosier Fiber Networks will together provide the “drop” connection to qualifying households.
The City of Bloomington partnered with Meridiam/Hoosier Fiber Networks in 2021 to bring high-speed internet access to all of Bloomington. Learn more about the project at: bloomington.in.gov/news/2023/04/04/5572
About Recover Forward
Recover Forward is a multi-year initiative to help our community rebound and thrive as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, moving toward greater racial, economic, and climate justice as we do so.
More than $15 million has been approved to date by the City Council for critical investments. Recover Forward Bloomington includes $9 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and $6 million from City reserve funds. Learn more at bloomington.in.gov/recoverforward.