The city of San Jose, California is currently accepting applications for $1 million worth of community grants intended to improve digital equity for all residents by increasing internet access and skills. This will be the first round of funding disbursed by the Digital Inclusion Partnership – a $24 million cross-sector fund that will be distributed in grant awards over a ten-year period. The Partnership is a collaboration of the City of San Jose, the San Jose Mayor’s Office of Technology & Innovation, and the California Emerging Technology Fund.
The partnership is targeting five key components of digital inclusion over the next ten years:
- Access programs – providing internet connectivity to 50,000 San Jose households;
- Device programs – ensuring every household has a working device that provides universal connectivity at speeds of at least 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload;
- Community awareness – educating residents about the programs, opportunities, and importance of digital literacy;
- Digital literacy – enhancing digital skills to access jobs, education, and critical services; and,
- Innovative pilots – seeking innovative approaches from the community.
The $24 million fund is being raised through a combination of public and private efforts. $14 million comes from public-private partnerships with telecommunication companies with another $10 million coming from private and philanthropic donors. Every dollar given is matched by city funding.
Applicants must be an educational institution, public agency, or 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides services to San Jose residents in areas such as (but not limited to) education, workforce development, homelessness, or other social services. Applicants must already be addressing or would like to address the digital needs of San José residents.