Mayor Scott Announces Grant Applications Now Open for Round Two of the Digital Equity Fund

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

 

The second round of the Digital Equity Fund will invest an additional $1.8 in digital education training, skill-building, and access to creative careers in low-digital inclusion communities

BALTIMORE, MD (Thursday, May 16, 2024) – Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott and the Office of Broadband and Digital Equity—a division of the Baltimore City Office of Information and Technology—announced $1.8 million in additional digital inclusion investments through the Digital Equity Fund. The Baltimore Civic Fund serves as fiscal administrator of grant funds.

“I’ve said from the beginning that closing the digital divide is one of the big civil rights issues of our time, and making sure all Baltimore residents can participate in the digital economy is critically important,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “With this new investment in computer and internet skills, support for those in creative fields, and job seekers, we take another step toward closing the digital divide and ensuring every Baltimorean is equipped to thrive in this digital age.”

Investments through the Digital Equity Fund focus on the City’s communities and populations frequently left behind in the digital age, including older adults, people with disabilities, immigrants, non-English speakers, returning citizens, people experiencing homelessness and LGBTQIA+ youth.

This second round of grant funding is available to Baltimore-based nonprofit organizations providing digital literacy education, advanced digital skills and IT training, and programming for digital creatives. Eligible organizations can apply for funding across three grant categories:

  • Tier 1: Digital Literacy Education Training (up to $200,000) – Grants will support initiatives under two sub-tiers: Tier 1A - digital literacy education for older adults; Tier 1B - digital literacy education for the wider community in support of tech hubs at recreation centers in underserved areas. Skill areas might include computer basics, using the internet, and digital skills for job seekers.
  • Tier 2: Advanced Digital Education and IT Fundamentals Programming (up to $200,000) – Grants will support initiatives providing IT fundamental skills training and certification to Baltimore City residents interested in a career in IT. Programming must include opportunities for residents to earn industry-recognized IT certifications. For example, Cisco IT Essentials, including CISCO ITE certification and/or A+ certification, CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+), Net+, and Security+.
  • Tier 3: Digital Creatives and Virtual Makerspaces Programming (up to $200,000) – Grants will support initiatives providing education and programming for digital creatives and virtual makerspaces at local recreation centers throughout Baltimore City. Grantees can use this tier of funding for classes and workshops for digital creatives, and special events to help develop skills in coding, digital media creation, robotics, video editing, and 3D printing.

Applications for grant funding are open now through July 14, 2024. To support interested applicants, the Baltimore Civic Fund and Office of Broadband and Digital Equity will host four information sessions and provide technical assistance with application completion as needed.

More information and the full Request for Applications is located on the Baltimore Civic Fund website.

“The Digital Equity Fund has already helped the City make significant strides in addressing barriers to digital equity. I’m looking forward to learning more about the innovative approaches this next round of funding will inspire to further support our communities with the critical resources needed to thrive in today’s digital world,” said Todd Carter, CIO for the City of Baltimore.

About the Digital Equity Fund
Launched April 2023, the Digital Equity Fund currently supports 22 Baltimore-based organizations with over 27 digital inclusion projects. Grantee organizations serve residents from youth to older adults with a wide range of identities and backgrounds. The Digital Equity Fund was initially seeded with $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding with a total commitment of $5 million.

About the Office of Broadband and Digital Equity
The Office of Broadband and Digital Equity (BDE), a division of the Baltimore City Office of Information and 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, sign up for BDE’s bi-monthly update, email bde@baltimorecity.gov, or call (443) 984-9740.

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.

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 100 city programs that promote business and economic development, education, culture and the creative economy, job growth, and more. 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. 

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