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Local organization receives $35,000 to support digital equity programs

February 8, 2018

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

The Castle Square Tenants Organization (CSTO) is the recipient of a $35,000 grant from the City of Boston Digital Equity Fund.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced The Castle Square Tenants Organization (CSTO) as the recipient of a $35,000 grant from the City of Boston Digital Equity Fund. The Digital Equity Fund, created in October, aims to provide support to community-based organizations that help Boston residents fully connect and participate in today's media and information landscape.

"A more connected Boston is a more equitable City, a more innovative City and a more prosperous City," said Mayor Walsh. "We're pleased to award this grant to a program that will help our residents grow their digital skills while increasing access to information for all."

The CSTO's mission is to promote the economic, educational and social empowerment of low income individuals by providing access to safe, quality affordable housing and supportive direct service programs. The organization offers paid internships through which low-income Boston high school students learn valuable digital skills. The organization also offers a computer repair program that helps make technology accessible to all.

The project will serve various Boston neighborhoods, including Chinatown, Dorchester, Downtown, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Roxbury, South Boston, and the South End. Participants in the CSTO programs gain valuable technology related skills, and often use those skills to help their families and communities.

"Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston have been very supportive of CSTO over the years," said Deborah Backus, Executive Director of CSTO. "We are thrilled to partner with the Department of Innovation and Technology on this new project and play a part in bridging the digital divide for all Boston residents."

By providing seed funding to The Castle Square Tenants Organization, the City hopes to identify promising strategies that can attract outside funding and further create a City where everyone has the tools and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.

The goal of the Digital Equity Fund is to explore ways to build individual and community capacity to:

  • Use the Internet, digital skills, and digital tools to pursue professional, educational, and civic endeavors;
  • Engage with the Internet safely and securely;
  • Develop needs-responsive, community driven digital skills building opportunities;
  • Increase broadband adoption among the roughly 1 in 5 Bostonians who do not subscribe to this service in the home.

The Digital Equity Fund is overseen by the City of Boston Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) and an external Fund Council consisting of five members. Advisory board members are appointed by Mayor Walsh and serve three year terms. To qualify for a grant, nonprofit organizations must be Boston-based and serve Boston residents. The grant received eight applications between October and November 2017.

About the Department of Innovation and Technology

The Department of Innovation and Technology makes sure the networks, computers and systems that support the City are secure and effective. They also manage the City's websites and technologies focused on service delivery.

Contact the Castle Square Tenants Organization

The CSTO has a waitlist of students for the spring 2018 semester. For more information about applying for summer or fall 2018 sessions, please contact Deborah Backus at dbackus@cstoboston.org. Individuals and nonprofits seeking refurbished computers or IT support, or who wish to donate used equipment, can contact Irene Chan at ichan@cstoboston.org.