2023 Digital Equity Fund
This year's fund was the largest to date, totaling $1,522,200. We also expanded it to have three focus areas:
- Enrollment into the Affordable Connectivity Program ($922,200)
- Efforts to Improve Telehealth Programming ($500,000)
- Device Refurbishment Programming ($100,000)
We encouraged all community-based organizations who were interested to apply. We look forward to supporting innovative ways to provide Bostonians with the tools we need to navigate our increasingly digital world. The deadline to submit an application was 11:59 p.m. on Monday, November 13, 2023.
About the Fund
This year's Digital Equity Fund will continue to accelerate solutions for: social, educational, and economic problems through community-based digital equity programs.
The programs will provide immediate, positive impacts on Boston families. They will help to increase participation and access to opportunities in all aspects of life for those who have been historically left behind. The City of Boston Digital Equity Fund will cover three areas.
- Enrollment into the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP),
- Efforts to improve telehealth programming, and
- Device refurbishment projects.
Digital Equity Fund Areas
Apply for the Fund
Funding will be prioritized to:
- local non-profits,
- places of worship,
- healthcare organizations, and
- community-based organizations serving Boston neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by the digital divide. This includes (but is not limited to) Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, East Boston, and Hyde Park.
We encourageD organizations that work with the following populations to apply:
- Households with income at or below 200% of the national poverty line.
- Households where any member participates in one of these programs:
- Assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, WIC, Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefits, or Lifeline.
- Eligible Tribal programs.
- A currently-awarded federal Pell Grant.
- A school lunch or breakfast program.
- Households where any member meets the eligibility criteria for a participating service provider's existing low-income program.
To Have qualified for a grant, organizations must Have fit the following criteria:
- Be a 501(c)(3) or have a fiscal sponsor
- Be Boston-based and/or serve Boston residents specifically.
How to Apply
The application period for the 2023 Digital Equity Fund is now closed. Applications and attached files had to be submitted through the 2023 Digital Equity Fund Google Form Application by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, November 13. You could only apply for one of the above options and award amounts will vary for each focus area. To preview the questions, and prepare answers ahead of time, applicants were able to make a copy of this Google Document version of the application.
We support projects that:
- help people use the Internet, digital skills, and digital tools to pursue life goals
- allow communities to work, play, learn, and engage in civic life on the Internet safely and securely
- make decisions based on the needs of their community, and
- work to help households who don’t subscribe to broadband get access to this service.
In 2017, the City of Boston used $35,000 to offer grants to local community organizations. We administered the fund through a selective application process. The first grant was awarded to the Castle Square Tenants Organization to fund its work with local students. Through our grant, the nonprofit was able to provide paid internships to more than a dozen students. They also offered an audio/visual college course, in partnership with the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology.
In 2019, three Boston nonprofits received the grants — La Alianza Hispana, Mujeres Unidas Avanzando, and South End Technology Center. These groups received $100,000 in grants combined through the fund.
Most recently in 2021, we were able to support 19 community-based organizations with nearly $500,000 in funding. These grants funded projects that addressed three major technology challenges: device access, affordable and reliable internet access, and digital skills training. Learn more about the 2021 recipients here!
Latest newsLatest news
$5 Million in New Grant Funding to Expand Digital Equity
Over $12 Million Invested in Digital Equity and Inclusion
Previous Years Digital Equity FundPrevious Years
In 2021, City of Boston launched the third round of the Digital Equity Fund, which supported the Boston community through nearly $500,000 in mini-grants. This work was funded in partnership with:
- the Age Strong Commission, and
- the Department of Innovation and Technology
Grants went towards solving three major technology challenges:1. EQUIPMENT:
We supported the community by providing the technology equipment required to keep folks connected. This included:
- laptops, and
- any other technology devices that would support your cause.
Internet access is essential to staying connected to the world. These grants also went toward hotspots, WiFi, and any other connectivity essentials. It also supported organizations working with residents who are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).3. TRAINING:
We know technology can change by the day. These grants also supported the training needed to empower organizations or residents with the tools they needed to utilize technology.
We encouraged non-profits focused on serving the following populations to apply:
- Older adults
- Persons with disabilities
- English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) or English Language Learner (ELL) students
- Residents of Public Housing or rental voucher holders
- Adult residents who have lost employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Finally, organizations focused on neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 were prioritized. These neighborhoods included:
- East Boston
- Mattapan, and
- Hyde Park.