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Boston gives $100,000 for non-profits to close digital divide

Boston’s Digital Equity Fund provides support to community-based organisations that help ensure all residents can participate in the digital world.

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Boston’s Mayor, Martin J Walsh, has announced that three Boston non-profit organisations will receive $100,000 in grants combined through the City’s Digital Equity Fund.

 

The fund was created by the Department of Innovation and Technology in October 2017 to provide support to community-based organisations that help ensure that all Boston’s residents can fully participate and don’t get left behind by the increased use of technology.

 

In fiscal year 2019, the City increased the grantmaking power of the Digital Equity Fund from $35,000 to $100,000.

 

"Providing resources to local organisations will help residents across Boston access high-speed internet and gain new digital skills," said Mayor Walsh. "We look forward to these organisations improving residents’ lives, and creating more opportunities for all."

 

The organisations receiving grants are:

  • La Alianza Hispana vows to empower individuals and strengthen the Latino community by leveraging partnerships to provide social, educational and health services and technology resources.
  • Mujeres Unidas Avanzado focuses on helping marginalised Latinas, such as those on low-incomes and people who have been formerly incarcerated or living in shelters. The organisation works to help these individuals become self-sufficient and assume leadership roles within the community.
  • The South End Technology Center works with residents who are at an increased risk of joblessness and uses technology to help them become producers and create businesses in the community.

In fiscal year 2019, the City increased the grantmaking power of the Digital Equity Fund from $35,000 to $100,000. Recently funded programmes include creative engagement in technology and engineering; courses that teach low-income, Latino immigrant seniors about the use of the internet and computers; and digital literacy classes with a focus on how to protect yourself and others online.

 

Equity and choice

 

Mayor Walsh has pledged a commitment to bring more equity and choice to residents throughout Boston. Additional initiatives have included Wi-Fi hotspots for the Boston Public Library’s lending programme, implementing Boston’s Wicked Free Wi-Fi programme and working to protect Net Neutrality rules.

 

In November 2018, Mayor Walsh and Verizon announced a new partnership to expand connectivity choices in the city.

 

The Digital Equity Fund is overseen by the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) and the Digital Equity Fund Council, an external group that is responsible for reviewing applications and selecting recipients. To qualify for a grant, non-profit organisations must be Boston-based and serve Boston residents.

 

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