We recently hosted Digital Equity and Funding: Opportunities in the Central Texas Region conversation. During that session, participants shared a rich list of resources, which we are making available below.
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• Definitions: https://www.digitalinclusion.org/definitions/
• Webinar Series: https://www.digitalinclusion.org/net-inclusion-2020-webinar-series/
• Connected Nation Texas is a great resource for communities struggling w/ broadband internet access, and they have expertise in working with rural communities https://connectednation.org/texas/about/
• Wifi Hotspots for non-profits set cost https://www.techsoup.org/products/hotspot-for-mobile-beacon-4g-lte-internet-service-for-nonprofits-g-51472-
• Connected Nation Texas: for communities struggling w/ broadband internet access, especially small/rural communities https://connectednation.org/texas/about/
• Southeast Georgetown Community Council has a pilot program, Facilities 4 Families that connects distance-learners with locations that are now empty due to COVID-19 so that they have a good internet connection, quiet space and learning coaches. Contact email@example.com for details.
• Austin Free-Net has maintained Public Access Computer Lab services at the DeWitty Training and resource Center throughout pandemic. We are operating at 25% capacity, gloving, masking and temperature checking. We can serve up to 5 clients per hour. For appointments: 512-974-1463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• SEGCC has a pilot program that connects distance-learners with internet ready locations, now empty due to COVID-19. Contact email@example.com for details
• Low cost internet service & computers in your area finder: https://www.everyoneon.org/find-offers
• You can request a donation of hardware from this company: https://www.revivn.com/communities
• Links for orgs that are in need and/or would like to donate devices:
» Donation: https://airtable.com/shrPEghrZnXTwsmtI
» Application: https://airtable.com/shrk6TbOmVm4VyOe6
• Austin Free-Net has bilingual Basic Digital Skills resources available at: austinfree.net/online. Hardware and Setup, Internet, Email, & Workforce Skills.
• Digital literacy resources in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Feel free to use and edit as needed: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/AEL/LandLtoolkit
• Digital Literacy Training https://www.startup.digitalinclusion.org/ch4.html
• The Austin Public Library has a free interactive online tutoring from 2 pm – 10 pm. It’s called Brainfuse – super easy, select a grade and a subject. Students (parents) can ask for help with learning systems also. Select eLearning: https://library.austintexas.gov/database-subjects/all-databases
• Basic Digital Skills Resources have been digitized in Spanish and English: https://austinfree.net/online/
• Community Tech Network launched a program called Home Connect focused on helping older adults get connected to home internet, a tablet and remote training.
• For Parents/Students:
» Google classroom, zoom, CANVAS, SeeSaw tutorials here https://www.immigrantsrefugeesandschools.org/post/google-classroom-and-more-in-multiple-languages
» https://data.austintexas.gov/stories/s/Resource-DigitalATX/d69x-3mq3/ or digitalatx.com
» Link to the notes from the DECA calls: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11g1ykjLzz48kKQVPe8oP81QPGTKdASgZ1w40Qm2Ofuw/edit
• For those interested in statewide issues advocacy around digital equity, there’s a “coalition of coalitions” forming to align high level policy priorities and coordinated messaging ahead of the 2021 legislative session. Key groups include Texas2036, Texas Rural Funders, Connected Nation Texas, United Ways of Texas, and many other city/region specific organizations. There’s a specific focus on access to affordable, broadband internet for both rural and urban communities. If interested in learning more, feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
• Digital Inclusion Coalition Guidebook: https://www.coalitions.digitalinclusion.org/
• Check out AUTM’s Texas Technology for All petition – https://www.change.org/p/greg-abbott-texas-tech-for-all
• State Bill 14 from the last Texas legislative session, which enables agencies to leverage LCRA and other utility internet infrastructure. It is focused on rural broadband, but may help folks who serve people in urban and rural areas.
• Internet As Infrastructure: https://internet-is-infrastructure.org
• This may be of interest when looking for models of digital inclusion outside the US context; sometimes it helps to compare/share policy strategies: “Digital Inclusion Across the Americas and Caribbean” – https://www.cogitatiopress.com/socialinclusion/article/view/2632
• “Keep us Connected” campaign in San Francisco: https://sfdignityfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Keep-Us-Connected-2020.pdf
• Link to a survey conducted by the Aging Services Council: https://www.communitytechnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/Results_Community-Survey-COVID-19.pdf
• Grant for Technology Opportunities Program (GTOPs)
» The Grant for Technology Opportunities Program (GTOPs) is excited to begin its 20th year of funding projects that improve community participation in digital society. Since 2001, more than $10.5 million in cumulative funds has been invested in community programs through GTOPs. These projects have ranged from after school creative media programs, to IT workforce training, and connecting those experiencing homelessness to social services.
» Potential applicants should be aware that a few changes have been made to GTOPs this year. The maximum award amount for GTOPs Core has been increased to $35,000. GTOPs Collaborative is being replaced with GTOPs Mini, a new funding pathway that will provide awards of $5,000-$10,000. More information will be shared about Mini later in the year. GTOPs Capacity will continue to receive applications on a rolling basis for 2 cohorts of grantees receiving $150-$2,500 each.
» The calendar for GTOPs Core applications has also changed to better accommodate applicant and grant reviewer schedules. Letters of Interest can be submitted from November 1st through January 8th and applications from January 18th to February 12th.
» All this information and more can be found on the new GTOPs website. There’s even guidance on how to become a grant reviewer and help to assess GTOPs applications for funding. Those interested in applying, should also attend the GTOPs 2021 Launch event on November 12th from 3 PM – 4 PM. The Office for Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs’ Community Technology team looks forward to another successful year of promoting digital equity in innovative ways.