Jan. 30, 2008 (MINNEAPOLIS)
The Digital Inclusion Fund has awarded nine
grants totaling $200,000 to organizations across the city for programs
to promote technology access and technology literacy. These are the first
grants awarded from the Digital Inclusion Fund, which was created in
2007 as part of the contract between the City of Minneapolis and US Internet
Wireless (USIW), the company currently building a citywide wireless network.
The wireless contract included a Community Benefits Agreement that was
the first of its kind in the country, and the Digital Inclusion Fund
a key component of the agreement.
The purpose of the fund is to bridge the digital divide in Minneapolis
by providing financial resources to organizations that work with low-income
people, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees,
displaced workers, seniors and other new users of technology. The fund
is managed by The Minneapolis Foundation.
The nine grant awardees are:
Minneapolis Public Library - $18,588 for the expansion of the basic technology
training classes for Somali and Spanish language speakers and for people
Phyllis Wheatley Community Center - $8,775 for its Bridging the Digital
Divide project designed to bring diverse neighborhood youth together
using wireless technology; also for the purchase of equipment, program
and accountability and evaluation services.
Plymouth Christian Youth Center - $22,500 for increased technology access
and literacy among youth and families in north Minneapolis by providing
computer access and education for community youth enrolled in the school’s
alternative and after-school programs; also to offer access and education
on Saturdays for families from the community.
Project for Pride in Living - $25,000 for its new Learning Center Access
Lab, which offers and array of resources and programs that help bridge
the digital divide for low-income residents by providing computer skills
St. Paul Neighborhood Network - $20,000 for program operations and member
support which targets technology access and literacy needs of recent
immigrant, people with disabilities, and low-income residents of Minneapolis.
The Bridge for Runaway Youth - $25,775 for a program that ensures digital
inclusion for homeless youth.
The Church of St. Philip (Patchwork Quilt) - $30,000 for its Patchwork
Digital Divide initiative to continue providing computer hardware, software,
and access to the Wireless Minneapolis network for low-income families
with children and people with disabilities.
TVbyGirls - $22,262 for a series of visual and media literacy workshops
designed to work with girls in specific cultural communities.
Twin Cities Media Alliance - $27,100 for recruitment and training of
Minneapolis residents and neighborhood organizations to create local,
useful information for distribution through neighborhood portals, community
partners and Twin Cities Daily Planet.
Under the City’s contract with USIW, the company established the
Digital Inclusion Fund with an initial $200,000 in 2007. An additional
$300,000 will be contributed to the fund once the wireless network is complete
in early 2008. In subsequent years, a percentage of USIW’s revenue
from wireless subscriptions will go into the fund.
The nine grant awardees were chosen from 45 proposals received in 2007.
A diverse group of 13 Minneapolis residents drawn from nonprofits, business,
the public sector, education and labor were chosen to serve as Fund Advisors
by the task force that helped negotiate the Community Benefits Agreement.
During 2008, the fund will seek more applications for a
new round of grant funding.
The Digital Inclusion Fund is a fund of The Minneapolis Foundation,
a community foundation. Established in 1915, The Minneapolis Foundation
is one of the
nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. It manages $710
million in assets, administers more than 950 charitable funds and distributes
approximately $36 million in grants each year. As a center for philanthropy,
the Foundation partners with a variety of communities and institutions
and offers its expertise to individuals, businesses and other foundations
to improve the quality of life in the region. For more information, visit
DIF Community Fund Advisors
John Michael Richard
City and Vendor Advisors
Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (City of Minneapolis)
Joe Caldwell (USIW)