Welcome to the seventh part of the Technology Matching Fund & Digital Navigator Cohort Grant blog series! In this series, Seattle IT will be covering the Technology Matching Fund and Digital Network Cohort Grant which is a project to build onto Seattle’s Digital Equity Statement and how qualifying non-profits can apply.
If your organization is working with people who are part of those who struggle to have access to the internet, then the Digital Equity Grants provided by the City of Seattle is perfect for you. The two Digital Equity Grants include the Technology Matching Fund (TMF) and the Digital Navigator Cohort Grants (DN). As a friendly reminder, Seattle IT wants to let everyone know that there are only two weeks left to apply for Digital Equity Grants. Both the TMF and DN Grants are due on May 13, 2022. For those who have not applied yet, here is a short recap of what is happening:
Technology Matching Fund (TMF)
What TMF looks for are projects that aim to empower, ensure and provide to their community:
• Empowering residents through digital literacy skills training and support.
• Ensuring affordable, available and sufficient devices and the support needed to use them effectively.
• Providing internet to low-income residents by expanding wi-fi or another means, and/or assisting with • low-cost internet option awareness and enrollment support.
The grant will be awarding up to $25,000 for qualifying non-profit organizations in Seattle. To qualify for the grant, organizations must be able to match at least twenty-five percent of their funding request with cash, time, or other contributions. For more details on TMF, go check out the first part of the Tech Talk Blog.
Digital Navigator Cohort Grant (DN)
Digital navigators emerged locally and nationally as trusted guides to assist in technological support and foundational digital skills, providing the following on-demand services:
• Accessing and using devices and the internet.
• Assisting with basic digital navigation.
• Troubleshooting technology issues.
The City of Seattle may award grants up to $50,000. For those with an aim to increase internet access and adoption by providing one-on-one or small group, just-in-time assistance via phone service, email, text, video chat, and other communication methods, go check out the second part of the Tech Talk Blog for more details.
Both grants can be applied on the same platform. To apply, you must create a new account and register by going to: https://seattle.fluxx.io/user_sessions/new. From there, you will be led to complete all the application sections and submit your application online. To see a list of what materials you should submit along with the proposal, if your organization qualifies and important dates, take a look at the third part of the Tech Talk Blog for a quick guide to the application. However, for more detailed guidelines, you can take a look at the 2022 Grant guidelines. While the preliminary reviews are still ongoing, there are information sessions that have already passed. However, do not fret as the recording has been posted online. Additionally, there are ongoing office hours every Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m until May 11, 2022.
Advice from Past TMF Winners
Wondering what past winner have to say about the TMF Grant? Seattle IT had the chance to interview three representatives from three organizations that had previously been awarded TMF grants: Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Wa Na Wari, and the Senior Center of West Seattle. All three representatives had reflected on their experience with TMF and had some advice to give to this year’s applicants:
Deborah Baker, Grant Writer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County had told Seattle IT that “[The grant was] absolutely appreciated and [it] made a huge impact because it really helped these kids stay connected stay involved in school, not fall behind.” A piece of advice Baker has for applicants is to not hesitate to ask for help, “They [City employees] have the expertise to help you be successful and if anybody is at all considering it to reach out and ask.” Read more on Baker’s experience in the fourth part of the Tech Talk Blog.
Jill Freidberg, one of Wa Na Wari’s Co-Founders and Assistant Culture Keeper, stated that Wa Na Wari has been awarded funding from TMF twice for two different projects. When asked if Freidberg could offer any advice, “The advice I would offer for people applying is to stay organized.” There is hefty amount of paperwork when applying to TMF, so staying organized is necessary. Freidberg also notes that it is important to not only see the grant as an opportunity for money, instead to see it as a way to build capacity around the use of technology. Learn more about Wa Na Wari’s project in the fifth part of the Tech Talk Blog.
Amy Lee Derenthal, Executive Director of the Senior Center of West Seattle, works with those who are of the older population. The TMF grant allowed the Senior Center of West Seattle to provide the seniors with a digital equity coordinator who helped them navigate the online landscape. When asked if she had any advice for people applying for the grant this year, Derenthal advises people to look at the bigger picture and the human element. To catch what Derenthal says in detail, check out the sixth part of the Tech Talk Blog.
For those applying to the Grants who would like assistance in polishing up proposals, Seattle IT has resources available:
Call or Text: 206-379-0469
If you have not had the chance, please go check out https://techtalk.seattle.gov/ to see the rest of the blog series. The end of the Technology Matching Fund & Digital Navigator Cohort Grant blog series is coming up soon so please stay tuned!
You can learn more about Digital Equity grants by following this link: http://www.seattle.gov/tech/initiatives/digital-equity/funding-opportunities!