King County awards $2 million in digital equity grants to 29 local groups

The King County Office of Equity and Social Justice this week awarded $2 million in grants to 29 local groups, agencies and organizations that aim to increase digital equity and literacy in the most vulnerable communities. affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every family needs access to broadband and technology to fully participate in an increasingly digital world. Yet 20% of King County households are underserved and lack home broadband, according to King County 2020 Broadband Access Study. Communities of color and low-income households face challenges related to affordability, digital literacy, and access to devices. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide, as a lack of reliable Wi-Fi or digital devices at home could mean an adult cannot work from home, a student unable to connect to their learning in line or a household unable to access COVID -19 health information.

To help King County residents and families improve their education, health, well-being and economic outcomes, this grant program provides direct support to community partners promoting digital access, adoption of high throughput, literacy and inclusion. Winners will increase digital equity and literacy in a variety of ways, including but not limited to classroom courses and skills-based workshops, browsing services, technical assistance, subsidized service plans or prepaid and device loan programs. These federally funded grants will provide linguistically and culturally appropriate services in communities that face barriers to accessing digital services.

“Funding from the Digital Equity Grant will provide critical technology resources to the Latino immigrant community, helping children and families bridge the digital divide,” said Virginia Herrera-Páramo, executive director of Para Los Niños. “Digital access is a lifeline to help meet the basic needs of our communities and access educational programs to help Latino parents and children thrive.”

“To support vibrant communities, we need to remove the barriers that prevent people from fully and equitably engaging in digital. Thank you to our community partners who work to create equitable access to the internet and digital devices so that every individual and family in King County can thrive in this increasingly digital world,” said Anita Whitfield, Office Manager of King County Equity and Social Justice. and Head of Equity and Inclusion.

“The King County Digital Equity Grant will allow us to provide greater access to cutting-edge technology and training that empowers the youth and families in our program to thrive in the digital world, today and in the future,” Cyoon McBride said. , after-school director of Kent Youth and Family Services. “We have found that when young participants are given the opportunity to develop their digital literacy skills, they are encouraged to continue their learning, which can eventually lead them to pursue careers in technology. I think the most rewarding thing is to see young people get excited about technology and to see their faces light up when they learn something new and to show off their skills by teaching what they have learned to their friends and their family.

Grant recipients (local organizations are in bold):

    • Ada Developer Academy
    • Afghan Health Initiative (Kent)
    • Black Shine Research
    • Child’s Haven (Burien)
    • Compass Housing Alliance
    • Computing for all
    • Downtown Emergency Services Center (Burien circa 2023)
    • The center of La Raza
    • Empower youth and families
    • Ethiopian community in Seattle
    • Northwest Washington Evergreen Goodwill
    • Freedom Project
    • International Rescue Committee, Inc. (SeaTac)
    • Kent Youth and Family Services
    • Kin On Health Care Center
    • Korean Community Service Center
    • South Sound Latinx Unidos
    • Lighthouse for the blind
    • Source of Literacy
    • Live well in Kent
    • Muslim Community and Neighborhood Association
    • NAMI Eastside (National Alliance on Mental Illness, East King County, WA)
    • Para Los Ninos
    • Provail
    • Alliance of Refugee Women
    • Renton Technical College
    • Seattle Jobs Initiative
    • Sno-Valley Senior Center (Partner: Sound Generation)
    • Sound Generations – Lake City-Northgate Senior Center Project

Funding was awarded based on the likelihood of sustainability and impact. Successful candidates have also demonstrated proximity and effectiveness in serving Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), seniors, residents with limited English proficiency (LEP), persons with disabilities and communication barriers, low-income, unemployed and underemployed residents, and those experiencing homelessness or residing in rural areas.

A full list of grant recipients and amounts will be posted on Digital Equity Grants website.

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