Seattle Announces Technology Matching Fund, Promotes Access and Digital Literacy Training

The city council of Seattle, WA recently announced a Technology Matching Fund that will contribute $345,000 to 15 qualifying non-profit organizations promoting technology access and digital literacy training. The city’s IT department has been making this annual contribution to improve digital equity throughout the city since 1997.

Organizations working with Eritrean, Filipino, Somali and low-income communities were chosen, as well as projects that help young women or adults retraining for new jobs.

“The current COVID-19 crisis has changed our ways of interacting and connecting, magnified disparities in our community and emphasized the need to bridge the digital divide,” said Alex Pedersen, chair of the Seattle City Council’s Transportation and Utilities Committee, which oversees Seattle IT. “Improving access to and adoption of technology to achieve digital equity is a major commitment of mine, and I look forward to seeing how this and other investments will open pathways and improve access to education, job training and other vital services.”

The funding from the city was augmented by an additional $25,000 contribution from Verizon and will be matched by $360,000 in donations from other organizations.

“The dual crises of COVID-19 and systemic racism in our region and our country are bringing into sharp relief the continued need for meaningful, intentional investments in our low-income communities and communities of color,” Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan wrote in an email. “More and more, our communities are relying on access to the internet and digital literacy skills to engage with their communities and make their voices heard. More than ever, it is crucial that we are investing in digital equity for all our communities.”