Mayor Scott Invests Nearly $1 Million to Close Digital Divide With Grant Awards to Baltimore-Based Organizations

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Mayor,
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Funding will support 22 organizations focused on the creation of community-led digital inclusion plans

BALTIMORE, MD (Friday, September 8, 2023) - Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott, through Baltimore City Information & Technology’s (BCIT) Office of Broadband and Digital Equity (BDE), announced the Digital Equity Fund has awarded over $900,000 to 22 inaugural grantees. The work of these grantees aims to ensure all residents and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of a digital economy.

The Digital Equity Fund launched in April 2023 to support the creation of community-led digital equity outreach and digital inclusion planning and implementation. Their focus is on establishing a foundation in awareness, engagement, and education for Baltimore City neighborhoods on digital equity. The fund provides three types of grants to Baltimore-based organizations, and organizations can apply for more than one grant type:

“With digital access becoming more and more engrained in every facet of life, digital equity is a civil rights issue,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Overcoming decades of disinvestment and neglect to close the digital divide is going to take a long-term commitment with long-term solutions. Today’s grant awards are actively investing in our community partners who will be critical in helping us achieve digital equity in every Baltimore neighborhood.”

The Digital Equity Fund grantees were selected due to their creative and scalable approaches to addressing digital equity gaps impacting Baltimore City’s most vulnerable populations, such as older adults, residents living with disabilities, residents experiencing housing instability and homelessness, residents with limited English proficiency, and residents living in low-income households.

The 22 inaugural grantees are (listed by grant type):

Education and Outreach Grant Recipients

Organization Grant Amount
Asylee Women Enterprise $10,000
CASH Campaign of Maryland, Inc. $10,000
Center for Technology Access and Training $10,000
Code in the Schools, Inc. $10,000
Enterprise Community Development, Inc. $10,000
Latino Economic Development Center $10,000
Leadenhall Baptist Church $10,000
Little Flowers Early Childhood and Development Center, Inc. $5,000
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital $10,000
Next One Up $10,000
PCs for People $10,000
TechUp Baltimore $9,940
Village Learning Place $9,500
Wide Angle Youth Media $9,875

Planning Grant Recipients

Organization Grant Amount
Associated Black Charities $50,000
Center for Technology Access and Training $50,000
Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition, Inc. $49,392
PCs for People $50,000

Implementation Grant Recipients

Organization Grant Amount
Byte Back $74,739
Center for Technology Access and Training $75,000
City of Refuge Baltimore $75,000
Code in the Schools, Inc. $75,000
Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation $60,000
No Boundaries Coalition, Inc. $75,000
Open Works, Inc. $72,552
Rebuild Johnston Square Neighborhood Organization $75,000

“My office is excited to partner with our grantees and looks forward to learning how we can continue to meet the needs of residents. Closing the digital divide, as the cliché goes, will take a village, and we’re committed to building a network of community partners with the same fervent focus of ensuring all residents can fully participate in the digital ecosystem,” said BDE Director Kenya Asli.

The Digital Equity Fund is supported by American Rescue Plan Act funding, and the Baltimore Civic Fund manages the distribution of funds to grant recipients.

"Baltimoreans belong in all spaces where innovation, creativity and knowledge are shared and amplified, and connecting every neighborhood to broadband is what makes that happen. This federal funding will provide better opportunities for citizens in every aspect of their life, while continuing to break down socioeconomic barriers that have persisted for far too long," said Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).

“Access to the internet is essential in the 21st-century economy,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). “That's why we fought for this funding within the American Rescue Plan to get more Marylanders online. This latest investment will help close the digital divide and open more doors of opportunity in order to build a more inclusive economy with more shared prosperity.”

“The digital divide is real. I am committed to marshaling federal resources to the people who need it as we fight to bring digital equity to those who have gone without for too long,” said Congressman Kweisi Mfume (MD-07).

"Just as we invest in roads and bridges to connect our communities, we must invest in digital infrastructure to connect our citizens. Access to the digital ecosystem isn't just a matter of convenience; it's a matter of equity, economic opportunity, and social inclusion," said Shamiah Kerney, director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery Programs. "When we fund digital equity, we are not just investing in the future of our City; we are investing in the future of our residents."

For more information about the Digital Equity Fund and the grant recipients, visit baltimorecity.gov.

About BCIT’s Office of Broadband and Digital Equity

The Office of Broadband and Digital Equity (BDE), a division of Baltimore City Information & Technology leads the City’s efforts to close the digital divide permanently and serves as Baltimore City government's primary liaison with internal and external stakeholders in digital equity. BDE envisions Baltimore as a city where residents can fully participate in the digital ecosystem and have access to devices, technical assistance, digital education, and affordable and reliable internet in the home. For more information about the City’s BDE programs and initiatives, email bde@baltimorecity.govor call (443) 984-9740.


About the Baltimore Civic Fund

An independent 501c3 organization serving as the fiscal sponsor for the City of Baltimore, the Baltimore Civic Fund is proud to be the financial backbone for public-private partnerships between innovative city programs and the philanthropic community. In this role, the Civic Fund manages $20 million annually for more than 125 city programs that promote business and economic development, education, culture and the creative economy, job growth, and more.  The Civic Fund strives to serve as a hub for connection and coordination between the City of Baltimore and the philanthropic community by building relationships and growing support for priority projects. Working alongside the mayor of Baltimore and city leadership, the Civic Fund helps realize a vision of an inclusive city where all Baltimore residents prosper.

About the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided $641 million to the City of Baltimore in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its negative economic impacts. Mayor Brandon M. Scott has established the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs to transparently and effectively administer this funding on behalf of the City. For additional information, visit the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs website at arp.baltimorecity.gov.

  • Education and Outreach grants ($5,000 – $10,000) will fund community-based activities to raise awareness of the digital divide, support programming to address the digital divide, and build capacity.
  • Planning grants (up to $50,000) will support community-building efforts to develop neighborhood digital inclusion plans.
  • Implementation grants (up to $75,000)will support communities in implementing digital inclusion plans.

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