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A CTCNet Affiliate

The Digital Access Project
was founded in 1998 to help local non-profit organizations provide access + tech literacy progams in underserved communities.
(our history)

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 is 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 with disabilities.
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 materials, 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 and access.
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, relevant, and 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 www.MinneapolisFoundation.org.

DIF Community Fund Advisors
James Nicholson
Patricia Nelson
Malik Bush
Peter Fleck
John Michael Richard
Mark Siegel
Nan Miller
Amanuel Godefa
Arif Mamdani
Damaris Fredell

City and Vendor Advisors
Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (City of Minneapolis)
Joe Caldwell (USIW)

Alternate Advisors
Kurt Kimber
Rafael Morataya